ACROSS AMERICA — This dog. Livestock owners and ranchers dream of a dog like Casper. He’s one fierce farmhand who knows his responsibility and won’t abandon it, even if it means nearly losing his life.
- Australian woman sentenced to prison for tossing dog off garage
- DOG’S UNWAVERING LOYALTY INSPIRES GOVERNOR TO ADOPT
- SANFORD – THE DOG WITH A BULLET INJURY IN THE LEG CURRENTLY CAN NOT STOP LAUGHING WHEN HE RECOGNIZES HE’S SAFE
- Mystery dog illness reaches L.A.; at least 10 cases reported
- A DOG FROM AN ABANDONED HOUSE ALERTS DONNA LOCHMANN THAT SHE IS NOT ALONE
Now, the 3-year-old Great Pyrenees livestock dog is up for a national title, the American Farm Bureau’s People’s Choice Pup of the Year award, after saving John Wierwille’s flock of sheep in Decatur, Georgia, from likely slaughter. Voting continues through Dec. 20 for those inspired to support Casper after reading his story.
A year ago, a pack of hungry coyotes with an eye on their next meal sniffed their way to Wierwille’s suburban farm. Casper took them on, one by one, killing 11 without a single casualty to the flock. During the fight, the coyotes nipped and shredded the dog’s ear, neck and flank. He lost his tail and now has to wag his entire body, from his shoulders back, when he’s happy, Wierwille says.
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As for the potential title. Wierwille told Patch, “For us, it is surprising and fun to consider, but mostly we think of Casper as part of the team that helps our family tend sheep in the city. He is fun to work with because he is so full of energy and has his own mind. I tell people all the time that he makes us better shepherds because he does things that we cannot do.” » Read more: By Amanda Lumpkin for Decatur Patch
Thanks For The Memories
There’s no question Jim and Chris Kuhlmann have earned their retirement after 29 years as the proprietors of the Whiskey Wind Tavern in Greenport, New York, but it’s bittersweet for customers of the staple of Long Island’s North Fork.
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As the line between customer and family disappeared over the years, “having been present during the many milestones of our community members made us feel like we were a part of their lives,” Chris told Patch after the couple announced they were selling The Wind. “It was like being part of a huge family, sharing their good and bad times as we celebrated or suffered with them.”
The name will stay the same, but the Kuhlmanns told Patch it’s time for “young blood” to keep the place lively and vibrant. » Read more: A Patch Exclusive by Lisa Finn for North Fork Patch
A Little Help From His Friends
Chris Hirsch woke up from surgery to repair a torn tendon fretting he might not have time to finish his extravagant Tinley Park, Illinois, Christmas display. “I can’t feel my arm,” his wife, Jori, recalled him saying as the fog of the anesthesia lifted. “Christmas will never get done.”
The annual display, Jori said, is her husband’s “pride and joy,” what he “lives for” the rest of the year.
Chris didn’t give in to defeat, though. Soon after his release from the hospital and with his arm in a sling, he and his family worked alongside each other through 14-hour days and on weekends to string thousands of feet of garland and more than 100,000 lights. Neighbors pitched in.
“I can’t even describe how emotional it was to have neighbors come walking down and say, ‘What can we do?’ ” Jori said. “My husband is not one to ask for help, nor are my children.” » Read more: A Patch Exclusive by Lauren Traut for Tinley Park Patch
Self-Checkout Christmas Party, LOL
We don’t care who you are, this is funny. An event put up on Facebook as a joke inviting the self-checkout employees of a New Jersey Walmart has a ton of viral traction. “Celebrating another successful year of picking, paying, and bagging your own groceries while actual employees just stand around and check receipts,” the post read.
In fact, there was so much response that prankster Andrew Delgado set up an actual event, “The True Spirit of Christmas,” after local Walmart store officials declined his request they throw a special party for the community. Charity is the price of admission — an unwrapped gift for a child, a donation to the food bank and things like that.
“I’ll find a way to throw a banger Walmart party another time,” Delgado joked in the post. » Read more: By Veronica Flesher for Lacey Patch
They Didn’t See That Coming
Keep your eye on Gabby Kaplan and Matthew Soifer, the new U.S. Intermediate National Champions for pair skating. The Illinois teens — Kaplan, an eighth grader, and Soifer, a high school senior — have only been pair skating since August and were “shocked” to be on the medal stand, Kaplan’s mother told Patch.
Besides winning the national championship and besting their score in their next outing, the two have been named to the U.S. figure skating development team, where they’ll get Olympics-caliber coaching. » Read More: A Patch Exclusive by Eric DeGrechie for Northbrook Patch
‘Plunger’ Saves 1,500 Lives
Choking is the fourth-leading cause of accidental death in the United States. Arthur Lih, a Massapequa, New York, man whose invention has saved more than 1,500 lives since its launch six years ago, told Patch his “aha moment” was a decade ago after hearing the story of a 7-year-old girl who had choked to death.
Lih, who had a daughter the same age at the time, made sure he had the training to do the Heimlich maneuver if necessary, but that’s only 70 percent to 86 percent effective. That knowledge, along with fatherly instincts, led to the development of LifeVac, which is based on, of all things, a bathroom plunger. “It makes a suction and pulls out what’s choking you,” Lih told Patch. » Read more: A Patch Exclusive by Jerry Barmash for Massapequa Patch
Peace, Love And Respect
Whether surfers, offbeat beachcombers or locals, professional surfer Hunter Jones doesn’t care who sits on the newly installed aloha bench at Manhattan Beach, California. He recently sat down there to talk to surfers about showing peace, love and compassion for each other while sharing the waves.
“It was really cool to see people come together and have conversations and learn from each other and take what they learned on the Aloha Bench into their next surf,” Jones told Patch. “As surfers, we’re a tribe, so we’re all looking out for each other.” » Read more: A Patch Exclusive by Rachel Barnes for Manhattan Beach
If animals can feel gratitude, a topic of some debate among animal behavior experts, several on Long Island are surely feeling it toward volunteers with the Strong Island Animal Rescue who saved them over Thanksgiving Weekend.
One was an owl that had been hit by a car and was lodged in its grill. A buck got his antlers caught in barbed wire. A cat, possibly with two broken legs, was stuck in the opening of a gate, where he’d likely dragged himself after getting hit by a car. A family of raccoons seeking shelter from the cold wandered down a chimney and into someone’s home, a deer got caught between two fences, and an abandoned domestic duck and chicken huddled for warmth in a window well, surviving on food from a neighbor.
Frankie Floridia, who was part of all the rescues, told Patch all the rescued animals are on the mend or back in their wild homes. As for the duck and chicken, “They’ll never be used as food; they’ll find homes,” he said. » Read more: A Patch Exclusive by Peggy Spellman Hoey for Sachem Patch
Romeo and Juliet, a pair of 65-year-old West Indian manatees living in relative isolation at the Miami Seaquarium for most of their lives, are learning for the first time at ZooTampa what it’s like to be part of a social group.
It took a delicate — and for the manatees, a life-changing — operation to get them there, involving several agencies, organizations and marine experts. As Romeo and Juliet aged, Seaquarium officials began discussing if the pair would be better off in a facility with more freedom of movement, geriatric care and, importantly, other manatees.
They were there under a Catch-22 of sorts, having arrived long before the 1972 passage of the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act a year later. Either law would have prevented them from having been taken from the wild in the first place. » Read more: By D’Ann Lawrence White for Tampa Patch
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