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When this puppy mill dog was rescued, she couldn't stand humans. But just look at her now.

When Coconut the dog was rescued, no one knew if she could be helped at all. But a new rehab program run by the ASPCA means more dogs will have a chance to live and be loved.

When this puppy mill dog was rescued, she couldn't stand humans. But just look at her now.

This is Coconut the dog. She loves getting lots of attention from her family.

Getting some love from her new family. Image by ASPCA.


Her person says: “She adds so much to our life, she really does. … She's absolutely wonderful."

But she wasn't always like this. Coconut had a rough start in life.

Coconut was born in a puppy mill — a large-scale commercial breeding operation where the health of dogs is not a concern. Conditions are disgusting and the treatment of dogs is horrible. As a result, many of the dogs have serious health and socialization issues.

Coconut was terrified of human touch before she was rescued by the ASPCA. Image by ASPCA.

After her rescue, Coconut couldn't stand to be touched by anyone. She was in seriously bad shape — so bad that she couldn't be put up for adoption.

The ASPCA rescued Coconut and more than 150 other dogs from a puppy mill in Michigan. But even outside the puppy mill setting, Coconut was very scared and couldn't stand to be touched by anyone.

Even outside the puppy mill, Coconut couldn't handle being around humans. Image via ASPCA.

There was simply no way she would've been able to handle becoming a family pet right off the bat.

“These dogs have been kept in isolation," said Kristen Collins of the ASPCA. She said that just because the dogs were rescued doesn't mean they're ready for a new home. “They needed extra help, and [in the past] there really wasn't anywhere for them to go."

Years ago, Coconut may have been out of luck. She may have spent years in a shelter, or simply been euthanized because she was too afraid of people.

Luckily for Coconut, the ASPCA recently opened a behavioral rehab center.

In March 2013, the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center opened in New Jersey to help traumatized dogs (either homeless or from cases of cruelty) get ready for adoption. It's the first facility in the country that's dedicated strictly to helping rescued dogs heal their behavioral problems. And so far, more than 200 dogs have graduated from the program.

By week three at the facility, Coconut was letting people touch her — cautiously, but it was a huge step forward.

Coconut tentatively sniffs Kristen's hand. Image by ASPCA.

By week six at the facility, Coconut had learned to actively seek touch when she wanted it (and she learned that getting pets and lovin' is awesome).

Is this the same dog?! Image via ASPCA.

Most dogs take about 12 weeks to make it through the rehab center's program. Coconut's rapid recovery was super impressive. Soon, she was ready to go to her new home.

Coconut's story has a happy ending.

Coconut is now a very social dog. She lives with a family that loves and pets her all the time, and gives her plenty of treats.


Let's all say it together now: awwwwww. Check out Coconut's whole story in the ASPCA's video.

What's the lesson to learn from Coconut?

Kristen Collins says it best: “I think that the main thing to take away ... is that these animals can be helped. And we will try our best to help all of them."

"These animals can be helped. And we will try our best to help all of them."
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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Yesterday I was perusing comments on an Upworthy article about Joe Biden comforting the son of a Parkland shooting victim and immediately had flashbacks to the lead-up of the 2016 election. In describing former vice President Biden, some commenters were using the words "criminal," "corrupt," and "pedophile—exactly the same words people used to describe Hillary Clinton in 2016.

I remember being baffled that so many people were so convinced of Clinton's evil schemes that they genuinely saw the documented serial liar and cheat that she was running against as the lesser of two evils. I mean, sure, if you believe that a career politician had spent years being paid off by powerful people and was trafficking children to suck their blood in her free time, just about anything looks like a better alternative.

But none of that was true.

It's been four years and Hillary Clinton has been found guilty of exactly none of the criminal activity she was being accused of. Trump spent every campaign rally leading chants of "Lock her up!" under the guise that she was going to go to jail after the election. He's been president for nearly four years now, and where is Clinton? Not in jail—she's comfy at home, occasionally trolling Trump on Twitter and doing podcasts.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less

Racist jokes are one of the more frustrating manifestations of racism. Jokes in general are meant to be a shared experience, a connection over a mutual sense of humor, a rush of feel-good chemicals that bond us to those around us through laughter.

So when you mix jokes with racism, the result is that racism becomes something light and fun, as opposed to the horrendous bane that it really is.

The harm done with racist humor isn't just the emotional hurt they can cause. When a group of white people shares jokes at the expense of a marginalized or oppressed racial group, the power of white supremacy is actually reinforced—not only because of the "punching down" nature of such humor, but because of the group dynamics that work in favor of maintaining the status quo.

British author and motivational speaker Paul Scanlon shared a story about interrupting a racist joke at a table of white people at an event in the U.S, and the lessons he drew from it illustrate this idea beautifully. Watch:

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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