Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.
The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.
As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”
It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.
According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.
It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.
She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”
Wilson did everything she could to release Eva from the cat’s grasp. She told The Sacramento Bee that she threw rocks, tried choking it and gouging its eyes. But no luck. It wasn’t until she received help from a passing motorist, Sharon Houston, who had a PVC pipe and some pepper spray that the situation improved. The pair were finally able to get the mountain lion to let go, but not before it dragged poor Eva along the path trying to escape. She was quickly rushed to the vet.
Wilson’s beloved canine companion was in life-threatening trouble. Wilson’s husband, Connor Kenny, told SFGATE that Eva had suffered two skull fractures, a punctured sinus cavity, severe damage to her left eye and experienced seizures. The pup’s situation was dire.
To help cover the medical expenses, Wilson created a GoFundMe account and was soon surprised by the outpouring of love and support the public had for her heroic Malinois. The fundraiser gathered more than $30,000, well exceeding what the family needed.
And luckily, Eva never lost her fighting spirit. As was posted on her own Instagram account, Eva recovered, returning home to her sister Mishka (and to new toys, no less).
She even got a milkshake on the way home. And Wilson shared with The Sacramento Bee that there's going to be more treats where that came from, "stuffies" shall be chewed and steak dinners shall be had.
Eva might technically be a Belgian Malinois, but her true breed is hero. Her fierce determination, loyalty to her loved ones and unbridled courage came out in full force. Because of her, a life was saved. She is, without a doubt, the goodest girl.
Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.
The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.
Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.
“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.
And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.
Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.
One day, Kinnear brought in some works from a friend by the name of Maud Lewis. Despite living in abject poverty and suffering from challenging health conditions, Lewis would create colorful, cheerful paintings using whatever materials she could get access to, be that leftover paint used for boats or discarded wooden boards.
According to Good News Network, Kinnear and Lewis had made their own trade: some painting supplies in exchange for a few of her pieces, which were brought to the restaurant.
A picture of Maud Lewis holding one of her works.
One painting in particular struck the then-pregnant Irene in a profound way—a cheery image of an old black pickup truck cruising through a neighborhood, complete with a bright yellow house with a flower-lined yard.
Because of the pure innocence expressed in the piece, Irene thought a child might have created it. She told the Guardian, “I just sat there in silence for quite a while. I’d never ever seen any art like that before. At first I thought they might be playing some sort of trick on me.”
Lewis would often repeat happy themes throughout her work.
Nevertheless, Irene selected the work and hung it in her expected son’s bedroom, where it remained for 50 years.
As an artist, Lewis never reached acclaim while she was alive, but over the years her art has made its way into the spotlight and there was even a romantic biopic made about her, starring Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke.
The movie caused Lewis’ work to “double and triple in value” according to Ethan Miller, chief executive officer and auctioneer at Miller & Miller Auctions in New Hamburg, Ontario, who noted that the truck painting in particular was a rare piece.
Soon, the Demases realized that they owned the work of a now-famous painter and they put the work up for sale. It was subsequently auctioned off for $350,000. The letters written between Kinnear and Lewis—also sold at auction—were bought for $70,000. Not bad for free grilled cheese.
Painting swapped in 70s for grilled cheese sandwich serves up windfall https://t.co/LC0teC431o— The Guardian (@guardian) May 8, 2022
Not only do the Demases have an exciting new chapter of possibilities in their lives, but an artist has received long overdue recognition. Talk about a win-win situation.
This story originally appeared on 12.15.21
Imagine being 6 years old, sitting in your classroom in an idyllic small town, when you start hearing gunshots. Your teacher tries to sound calm, but you hear the fear in her voice as she tells you to go hide in your cubby. She says, "be quiet as a mouse," but the sobs of your classmates ring in your ears. In four minutes, you hear more than 150 gunshots.
You're in the first grade. You wholeheartedly believe in Santa Claus and magic. You're excited about losing your front teeth. Your parents still prescreen PG-rated films so they can prepare you for things that might be scary in them.
And yet here you are, living through a horror few can fathom.
The trauma of any school shooting is hard to imagine, but the Sandy Hook massacre was in a league of its own. These were first graders. Twenty babies, shot and killed in a matter of minutes. Six educators who tried to protect them.
That was nine years ago. Now the kids that survived Sandy Hook are in high school, and some of them are opening up about their experiences. Their voices deserve to be heard.
In February of this year, Sandy Hook survivor Ashley shared her story with NowThis News. Some of the scenario above was taken from her account:
Ashley was 7 when she went through the trauma of Sandy Hook. She said she has experienced survivor's guilt and the pain of people claiming that the shooting was a hoax. "I can’t give you proof except for my trauma," she said.
Another Sandy Hook survivor, Maggie LaBlanca, shared her story at this year's National Vigil for All Victims of Gun Violence last week. Her best friend, Daniel, was killed in the shooting.
"It's been almost nine years since I endured that day. Everything has stayed with me so clearly," she said. "The trauma never went away, and I still feel sad all the time that I'm here and they're not. I look for Daniel everywhere because it's hard to accept that I lost him."
We mourn those who are killed in school shootings and focus on the numbers of deaths, but the survivors deserve just as much of our thought and emotion. It's traumatic for anyone to have a loved one murdered or to witness someone being killed in front of them. In the worst scenarios, both of those things happen at the same time. And when it's children who are the witnesses, that's just a tragedy none of us should accept as normal.
This TikTok video from a Sandy Hook survivor sums it up succinctly.
At the time, we thought Sandy Hook had to be the last straw. We thought surely 6-year-olds shot and killed in their classrooms would change things. Our lawmakers would surely unite to take action—to do something, anything—to try to prevent this kind of thing from happening. People pleaded. Activists organized. And our laws have barely budged, especially at the federal level, where they have the greatest chance of actually being effective.
It doesn't have to be this way. Most Americans agree on some very basic gun legislation. A 2019 poll reported by Politico showed that 70% of Americans support banning assault weapons, including a majority of both Democrats and Republicans. Also in 2019, a National Public Radio (NPR), PBS NewsHour and Maris College poll found that 83% of Americans want Congress to pass legislation requiring background checks for gun purchases at gun shows or via other private sales.
Why wouldn't we want to make it harder for abusers or people with a history of violent or threatening behavior to get firearms? Why wouldn't we want to make it harder for troubled teens to get a hold of guns in their household?
Gun rights activists will argue that no law will prevent all shootings, which is true. The U.S. has far too many guns in circulation to curb all gun violence. But some will prevent some, and some is better than none, especially when we're raising generations of kids who have to practice what to do if a gunman starts shooting up their school.
What we have now is not normal. It's not freedom. It's a tragic embarrassment and a stain on our nation—one that we don't have to accept without a fight. We owe these kids at least that much.