Saturday Surprise — Critters ‘N Creatures

I missed Saturday Surprise last week, partly because I didn’t realize it was Saturday until it already was, and it was too late to pull together a post, and partly because a ‘thing’ happened that interfered with my good humour.  So, I made a ‘note to self’ to be sure to try to make this Saturday’s Surprise extra special.  Now, you know that in my lingo, “extra special” is going to involve some critters, right?


Wee ones …

I happened upon some pictures from a photography contest called #Small2019.  Take a look at a few of the ones I found most fascinating …

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Best Friends

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Hungry

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The snail kisses the frog

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Sleepy Hedgehog

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Transparent

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Roommates

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Purple Love

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Gentle

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Catch Up

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Three Hungry Chicks

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Going Home

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Team Work

 


Now where is that darned …

Saurabh Desai is a wildlife photographer.  Desai recently posted a photo he had taken in the Spiti Valley of Northern India that’s left internet users scratching their heads. At a glance, it appears to be a simple landscape shot of a snow-covered crag — but there’s more to the image than first meets the eye.

Turns out, Desai was actually there photographing a snow leopard, an elusive big cat native to the region, whose perfectly camouflaged coat makes him blend into his landscape to a breathtaking degree.

Can you find him?

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I’ll show you where he is …

Hmmmm … maybe not.  Heh heh … I’ll show you at the end of this post, fair ‘nuff?


Lucas …

I found the cutest little guy quite by accident a few days ago, and I saved him to show you.  His name is Lucas and he’s a spider … but don’t worry … I think even those who suffer arachnophobia will fall in love with Lucas!


Budi …

And lastly, what would life be without a cute animal video?  This one is about a baby orangutan named Budi who was rescued after spending his first year locked up in a chicken cage because someone wanted to keep him as a pet.  In this video, he’s learning how to be wild!


As promised, here is the great reveal of the location of the snow leopard … did you find it?leopard-2

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And now, let’s all go find ways to relax and enjoy our weekend, for Monday will return before you know it!  Have a terrific weekend, my friends!

Good People Doing Good Things — Liam and Scott Hannon

Last night when I began working on my ‘good people’ post, I intended to write about 3 or 4 people, as I often do, and I picked one with which to begin.  But, before long I was up to nearly 700 words and still had more to say about this remarkable duo … a boy and his dad …

liam-7Today, please allow me to introduce to you 12-year-old Liam Hannon of Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Liam’s dad typically sent him to camp for a portion of each summer, but in 2017, when Liam was just ten, he informed his dad that he didn’t want to go to camp that year.  Dad said okay but insisted that Liam find something productive and positive to keep himself busy through the summer.

That first week of summer vacation, Liam and his dad found an online treasure hunt game called Brain Chase, where Liam chose three topics to focus on, one of which was ‘service’.  The game challenged Liam to find some way, some project to give back to his community.  Liam thought about the homeless people he saw every day right outside his building, and he had an idea.  The idea was to make … sandwiches!  Sandwiches to pass out to the people who needed them most.  And thus was Liam’s Lunches of Love born.liam-6In the first week, Liam loaded up a wagon and handed out 20 sandwiches with his dad’s help. He went from sandwiches to complete bag lunches, upgraded the wagon to a hand-cart, and to date has served up more than 2,000 bag lunches to homeless people in his neighborhood.  He doesn’t just make the lunches (with some help from dad), but on each and every lunch bag, he writes a handwritten message, often accompanied by an encouraging little bit of artwork.liam-3Liam hopes to someday expand his philanthropy to include animal rescue.  A story his dad tells of one incident furthers our faith in Liam’s good heart …

His father remembers Liam’s first animal rescue: a bucket of 15 baitfish. Father and son had gone fishing. Liam watched his dad jab one small fish with a fishing hook. The boy held the bucket against his chest.  “I heard him tell the fish, ‘Don’t worry. It’s OK. I’m going to talk to him,’” Scott said.  Liam persuaded his father to throw every single baitfish back into the water, including the one on the hook so he could ‘be with his friends.’ “He’s just a wise soul for his age,” Scott said.

Now, Liam obviously has a huge heart and is a ‘good people’, but I think his dad, Scott, has to get some of the credit here, too.  Scott doesn’t just talk the talk, but walks the walk, and Liam has grown up seeing the examples set by his dad.

“One time, Liam said, ‘Dad, did you just tell that lady she didn’t have to pay you?’ And I said, ‘Yes, she’s 90 and lives on her own and has no one to help. That $80 means nothing to me.’ He has learned like that, but he’s always been a very empathetic kid.”

Scott is a single parent, working at a mid-level job and lives in a rent-controlled building, so needless to say, there came a point early on in this venture where they needed help to pay for the groceries for the lunches Liam was handing out.

“That first week, we made 20 lunches. That was going to be it, but then Liam said, ‘Dad, can we do this again? I like doing this.’…So we kept doing it, and each week it grew a little bit more.”

So, they started a GoFundMe.   Over the weeks, donations poured in to help Liam’s Lunches of Love, and local grocery stores contributed meals, too. Friends and neighbors also volunteered their time to hand out bags, which freed Liam and Scott up to spend more time with each recipient and get to know them. And that experience has opened their eyes.

“Liam has learned a lot about the difference between what a real homeless person is like versus the idea he had in his head just from seeing people on the street. He realized they’re a lot different than he thought they were, and he’s grown up a little because of it.”

liam-1Liam and his Liam’s Lunches of Love have received national recognition from ABC News, NBC News, CBS News, the Boston Globe and others.  But the real honour came last month when Liam was one of five young people showcased on CNN’s “Young Wonders: A CNN Heroes Special” hosted by Anderson Cooper.  Take a look …

The five were also honoured the next night on “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute”.  As Anderson Cooper said at that event …

“The next generation reminds us of the unwavering foundation that really connects us all — incredible acts of kindness, unconditional love and the promise of a better tomorrow.”

liam-8I couldn’t have said it better myself.  Hats off and two thumbs up to Liam and his dad Scott … these are the people who remind us what humanity is really about, don’t you think?

For more about Liam, his dad and this project, be sure to check out the Liam’s Lunches of Love website.

Good People Doing Good Things — California Wildfires

Wildfires have been raging seemingly forever in California. I don’t know for certain that there was even a break between the fires last December and the current batch that started in early April and is still going strong.  Wildfires are almost a given in California on an annual basis, but this year’s fires have exceeded any in the state’s history.  A total of 5,283 fires have so far burned an area of 903,797.6 acres … nearly one million acres!  And the toll isn’t only land and homes, but there is a human toll also. Just two days ago, yet another fire fighter died in the line of duty, the sixth this year.  In addition, eight civilians have also died.

The fire fighters have been working non-stop, sometimes 24-hour shifts with very little time for rest in between, so they haven’t had the time to sit down and tell us their stories, but some day they will and then I will listen and write about their amazing stories, their acts of heroism.  Meanwhile, though, I do have a few stories about good people doing good things in the tragedy of the California wildfires.  Most of these are small, yet heartwarming stories … the bigger ones will, no doubt, come later.


California Highway Patrols across California have deployed officers to help California residents evacuate from the fires.  This unidentified CHP officer rescued this deer and received a deer kiss in return.police rescues deer


Susan and Jeff Grant were evacuated from their home during the Carr fire, the second largest. Luckily, the fire didn’t damage their home and after 10 days in a motel, they were able to return home. When they did, they found a note from one of the fire fighters who had been working to protect the area …firefighter noteHe had watered their flowers & garden, and looked after their turkeys!  A small thing, but consider this man was likely exhausted and yet took a few minutes to do this small act of kindness for people he doesn’t even know.


Last Friday, the Nelson fire was rapidly approaching the Solano SPCA in Vacaville, and there it was obvious that there was a limited amount of time to get the animals out and taken to safety.  There were 67 animals in the shelter, including a python, and only a few minutes to get them out.  All the animals were safely rescued, thanks to the fine work of these men and women.

The shelter was spared and the animals were able to return the next day.  An added side benefit … about a dozen of the animals are now being adopted by their rescuers!


World Central Kitchen is a not-for-profit non-governmental organization devoted to providing meals in the wake of natural disasters that was founded in 2010 by celebrity chef José Andrés.  Along with Guy Fieri of Food Network fame, they are on the ground in Redding, California, near the Carr fire, feeding both the displaced and the crews who are working to contain the fires. Guy FieriFieri and Andrés have combined their efforts with local branches of disaster relief organizations the Red Cross and Salvation Army, as well as Operation BBQ Relief, an organization that rolls up with smokers to feed victims of natural disasters.  Together, they are feeding about 1,600 – 2,100 people a day.


Photographer Noah Berger was on assignment shooting photos of the Clayton fire in Northern California when a firefighter came out carrying a goat.  He asked Berger to please take the goat, as he needed to go back and get the others.  Turns out there were 10 goats stranded in the midst of the flames!goatThe family that owned the goats had been forced to evacuate, and couldn’t get the stubborn goats to come along, so they had no choice but to leave them behind.  Thanks to some heroic firefighters and Noah Berger, the little goats are safe.


These stories may not seem like much … just little things, really, like watering someone’s flowers or rescuing an animal … but these are the things that people with kind hearts, people with compassion, people who care about others do.  We help others, even if only in small ways.  Every single firefighter and rescue worker out there battling the heat, exhaustion, and risking their life has my undying gratitude and utmost respect.  These are my heroes this week. Let us hope for an end to these terrible fires soon before the toll in property and lives goes any higher.firefire-2fire-3

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Firefighter gives CPR to rescued dog … the dog lived!

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Exhausted

Monday … Again? Sigh.

I committed some time ago to keep Mondays free of politics and the social issues that are my usual topics of choice.  Why?  Because, first of all it was requested by my friend, Linda, and second of all, Mondays are difficult days for some (most), so why should I add to the gloom?  However, this Monday it is a struggle. I trolled for several hours in search of good news, happy things, and this is the result. So I apologize in advance for this rather disjointed post that is somewhat lacking teeth, lacking depth, and lacking any sense of cohesion.

  • Sanitation Workers Save Kittens From Trash, Get Dubbed ‘Sexiest Dudes Ever’
    • Sanitation workers in Florida are being celebrated as heroes after rescuing four kittens they found trapped inside a tied plastic bag while processing garbage. The workers at Florida’s Palm Beach County Solid Waste Authority uncovered the four 4- to 5-week-old furballs last week.kittens-1 kittensThe Justin Bartlett Animal Rescue took the kittens in and said they were starving and suffering from parasites. They were taken from their mother too early and are being bottle-fed for the time being, a rescue center employee told The Huffington Post on Sunday. Fortunately, the kittens are expected to make a full recovery and should be available for adoption within a month.

      Since the kittens have gone from trash to treasure, they’ve been named after gemstones. The three male kittens are named Garnet, Jet and Topaz, and the female kitten is named Ruby. A Facebook user provided the adorable names. (Golgowski, Huffington Post, 10 April 2016)

 

  • Bank Robbers Wrap Up Head-To-Toe In Aluminum Foil For Heist
    • Bank robbers in southern Brazil donned a highly unusual disguise for a heist. The duo covered themselves from head to toe in aluminum foil for the early Saturday morning raid on the Banco de Brasil branch in Praia Grande. Police said the two believed their improvised outfits would beat the bank’s alarm system and stop it from sounding. Astonishingly, the robbers’ plan appeared to work. But, as their cloaks didn’t allow Harry Potter-style invisibility, the hapless pair was still captured by the bank’s surveillance cameras. bankrobberSecurity staff working at Banco do Brasil’s regional HQ in Florianopolis alerted police, and an armed response unit arrived on the scene. The duo fled empty-handed, leaving behind blowtorches and other implements they were using to try and break into a safe. One comment to this story read: ‘Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man  .. That he didn’t, didn’t already have’. For those who may not remember, this is a line in a song entitled Tin Man by the group America in 1974.  (Moran, Huffington Post, 11 April 2016)

 

  • Chinese Doctor With No Legs Makes Her Village House Calls Using 2 Stools
    • An inspiring 37-year-old doctor has been getting from place to place using only wooden stools in place of legs. Li Juhong’s legs had to be amputated after a car accident in 1983 when she was only four– but instead of feeling despair over the loss, Li was motivated to become a doctor. After acquiring her medical degree in 2000, Li set up a village clinic in Chongqing, China. Since then she has been the caretaker of all 1,000 residents, using two stools instead of feet to get around. Her husband, Xing, offers to transport her to patients too sick to leave the house by carrying her on his back. With his assistance, she has handled over 6,000 cases in the region. In her 15-year career, the resilient doctor has worn out over 24 stools. Now that is a dedicated doc!chinese doc

 

 

 

 

 

So, that was all the good news I could find that was interesting.  Tomorrow … some trumpitts (Trump snippets).  ‘Til then … keep one thing in mind:

Respect