Marine veteran Paul Coppola is a wonderful example of the transformational power of service dogs.
Ten years ago, he was rocked by two explosions in an attack that took the lives of 17 Marines in Afghanistan. The attack left Coppola with traumatic brain injury, PTSD, and an injured back.
Coppola didn't think his struggles warranted a service dog but after prodding from his wife, he was paired with Dobby, a four-year-old black Lab mix trained by veteran organization Operation Delta Dog.
Dobby and Paul soon became best friends and partners in life.
Dobby helps Paul with simple tasks such as opening accessible doors and eases his anxiety by giving him something to focus on in stressful situations. Paul is also a source of support for Dobby, a rescue dog who also suffers from anxiety.
"He's given me my freedom back, really," Paul says. "I have to admit the fact that he's saved my life."
Today, Paul volunteers at Operation Delta Dog where he acts as a mentor and provides living proof of the positive effect service dogs can have in the lives of veterans.
Paul's journey was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Veteran and His Service Dog."
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A few weeks ago, Upworthy shared the hilarious winners of the 2021 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards and the winner was a well-timed shot of a monkey who appears to have hurt the family jewels on a suspension wire. (Don't worry folks, no monkeys were harmed for the awards.)
The awards were created six years ago by Tom Sullam and Paul Joynson-Hicks to promote positive awareness of animal welfare issues. The competition has been so successful, the duo decided to branch out and create the Comedy Pet Photo Awards, where photographers can submit pictures of their furry friends for a £2,000 ($2650) prize.
Donations generated by the competition go to Animal Support Angels, an animal welfare charity in the UK.
This year's winner is Zoe Ross for "Whizz Pop," a photo of her labrador puppy Pepper who appears to be tooting bubbles.
“We never ever thought that we would win but entered the competition because we loved the idea of helping a charity just by sending in a funny photo of Pepper," Ross said in a statement. "She is such a little monkey, and very proud of herself, bringing in items from the garden and parading past you until you notice her. She is the happiest puppy we’ve ever known and completely loved to pieces.”
Here are the rest of the winners of the 2021 Comedy Pet Photo Awards.
Overall Winner: Zoe Ross "Whizz Pop," Penkridge, UK
© Zoe Ross /Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021
Did this puppy swallow a bubble?
Best Dog Category: Carmen Cromer "Jurassic Bark," Pittsboro, North Carolina
© Carmen Cromer/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021
"My golden retriever, Clementine, loves to stick her face in front of the hose while I water the plants. Her expression in this photo made me think of a tyrannosaurus rex, hence the title, "Jurassic Bark." Duh nuh nuuuh nuhnuh, duh nuh nuuuh nuh nuh, dun duh duuuh nuh nuh nuh nUUUUUUhhhh," Carmen Cromer.
Best Cat Category: Kathrynn Trott "Photobomb," Ystradgynlais, UK
© Kathrynn Trott/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021
Jeff stealing the limelight from his brother Jaffa.
Best Horse Category: Mary Ellis, "I said 'Good Morning," Platte River State Park, Nebraska
© Mary Ellis/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021
"I like to visit the stable horses before I begin my hike at the State Park. This is the reply I received when I said 'Good morning,'" Mary Ellis.
All Other Creatures Category: Sophie Bonnefoi, "The Eureka Moment," Oxford, UK
© Sophie Bonnefoi/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021
"Cutie and Speedy are two chicks hatched from eggs placed in an incubator at home in August 2020. They spent their first few weeks indoors. In the photo, they are just over two weeks old. They were curious about everything. This is the day they discovered their own shadow. It was hilarious to see them wondering and exploring that 'dark thing' that was moving with them!" Sophie Bonnefoi.
Junior Category: Suzi Lonergan, "Sit!" Pacific Palisades, California
© Suzi Lonergan/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021
"Our granddaughter gave the command to sit. Beau is very obedient," Suzi Lonergan.
Pets Who Look Like Their Owners Category: Jakub Gojda, "That Was a Good One!" Czech Republic
© Jakub Gojda/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021
"This photo was taken by accident during the photography of my ex-girlfriend with her beloved mare. For this cheerful moment, I thank the fly that sat on the horse's nose and he instinctively shook his head," Jakub Gojda.
Highly Commended: Chloe Beck, "Hugo the Photobomber," Walsall, UK
© Chloe Beck/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021
"This is my best friend Faith, her husband Alex, and their cheeky Sproodle, Hugo. Faith wanted a photograph to mark a special occasion—her first outing after shielding at home for 14 months. Hugo jumped into the frame at just the right moment!" Chloe Beck.
Highly Commended: Luke O'Brien, "Mumford and Chum," Coventry, UK
© Luke O'Brien/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021
"Losing the opportunity to play with my human bandmates during lockdown, Flint, my rescue dog, soon taught me that we didn't just have sharp bones in common, but musical ones, too. He soon became the perfect substitute for a collaborative stomp up at home, so much so that we felt we deserved our own band name (Muttford and Chum). With my camera set up remotely during this shoot, I think it's fair to say that the image is proof that his conviction as a performer matches my own," Luke O'Brien.
Highly Commended: Kathryn Clark, "Wine Time," Clichester, UK
© Kathryn Clark/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021
"It's that time of day again! Little Blue enjoys it almost as much as me," Kathryn Clark.
Highly Commended: Diana Jill Mehner, "Crazy in Love with Fall," Paderborn, Germany
© Diana Jill Mehner/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021
This is Leia. As you can see, she definitely loves playing with all the leaves in autumn. It was really tricky to take this picture because you never know what the dog is going to do next," Diana Jill Mehner.
Highly Commended: Christine Johnson, "Boing," Crosby Beach, UK
© Christine Johnson/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021
"I was busy playing with my dog on the beach and this dog came to play. I liked the shapes he was making in the air," Christine Johnson
Highly Commended: Manel Subirats Ferrer, "Ostrich Style," Platja del Prat de Llobregat, Spain
© Manel Subirats Ferrer/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021
Nuka playing hide and seek at the beach.
Highly Commended: Colin Doyle, "Nosey Nieghbor," Bromsgrove, UK
© Colin Doyle/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021
"According to Ozzy, we need a new fence panel ASAP. He is fed up with Chester our nosy next door neighbor spying on him every time he has a meal," Colin Doyle.
Highly Commended: Corey Seeman, "A Warm Spot on a Cold Day," Michigan
© Corey Seeman/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021
"Two of the morning regulars at the dog park are Gary (hound mix with the jacket) and Kona, one of the most chill dogs ever," Corey Seeman.
Highly Commended: Lucy Slater, "So What?" San Diego, California
© Lucy Slater/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021
"This is how I like to sit!" Vincent the cat.
Highly Commended: Mollie Cheary, "Photobomb," Poole, UK
© Mollie Cheary/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021
"Bailey was so excited to see her friends, she couldn't sit still for a photo!" Mollie Cheary.
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It's December, which means we hear familiar holiday songs everywhere we go, from the mall to the grocery store to restaurants. Soon we might see and hear carolers singing out the sounds of the season with Christmas classics such as "Winter Wonderland," "Silent Night," "Carol of the Bells," and, of course, the always festive "Feliz Navidad."
It's already hard not to bop along to that bilingual favorite, but a video of a 5-year-old joyfully performing it has taken the tune to another level. Alexis Fuller shared the video of her son Milo playing "Feliz Navidad" on Facebook last Christmas season and it is pure delight.
"This little guy was too excited for this one..." Fuller wrote. "Happy holidays everyone."
How could anyone not be happy watching this little guy play his guitar and sing?
The kid's got it all, doesn't he? The sweet smile, the upbeat energy, the in-tune vocals and some impressive guitar prowess for such a young age. And the way he stood up and kicked that stool back as he broke into the chorus? Milo's got a bright future ahead of him.
The story of "Feliz Navidad" itself is a delight as well. José Feliciano wrote the song more than 50 years ago, when he was recording music in Los Angeles far from his home in Puerto Rico during the holidays. "It was expressing the joy that I felt on Christmas and the fact that I felt very lonely. I missed my family, I missed Christmas carols with them. I missed the whole Christmas scene," he told NPR.
The fact that the song has endured for so long has surprised and delighted him. He told the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers last year that "there is no greater reward than writing a song that has become everybody's Christmas anthem, and all the joy that it brings fills me with joy."
I hope Feliciano has seen Milo singing his song to see how much joy it really does bring.
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There are pop stars, and then there are singers. While recording studio technology can make people sound like amazing singers, the proof is in their live performances.
Kelly Clarkson and Ariana Grande took it a whole step further on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," delivering not only a jaw-dropping live performance but doing so in the form of revolving pop diva hits in an "impossible karaoke" showdown. In less than five minutes, they showed off their combined ability to nail pretty much anything, from imitating iconic singers' styles to belting out well-known songs with their own vocal stylings.
Watch this and try not to be impressed:
give kelly clarkson and ariana grande an exorbitantly expensive 10-episode Netflix series where they just hang out and sing dueling pop covers for an hourpic.twitter.com/m5IJAZ2DYL— alex (@alex) 1638284422
There's a reason Kelly Clarkson won the first season of "American Idol" and went on to become a multiplatinum recording artist. What's funny is seeing some people in the replies saying they didn't know she could sing like that. Yes. Yes she can. And she has since the beginning.
Check out this performance of Celine Dion's "I Surrender" during the first season of "American Idol." At this point, she was an amateur singer and her vocal chords were stressed after weeks of rehearsing and competing, and she still knocked it out of the park. Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson both said they'd put her in the same league as Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Celine Dion, and she's shown she deserves that classification over and over again since.
And Ariana Grande has made a name for herself for her ability to impersonate different singers while also sounding freaking amazing. Jimmy Fallon has had her on his show multiple times doing musical impressions. Check this one out from when she was just 21 years old. I mean, singing "The Wheels on the Bus" as Christina Aguilera? The woman can sing. Period.
So of course, having Kelly Clarkson and Ariana Grande singing together is a real treat. And they've gifted us with a delicious duet for the holiday season with a live performance of "Santa, Can't You Hear Me." Their voices complement one another so beautifully, with Grande's silvery sweetness and Clarkson's rich resonance. The amount of talent pouring forth from these ladies is simply unreal.
As Jimmy Fallon said, "How?"
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