Dienstag, 25. Dezember 2012

Merry Christmas!

A Thai elephant dressed as Santa Claus performs before giving presents to pupils during Christmas celebrations at a school in Thailand

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas wherever you are!

Donnerstag, 20. Dezember 2012

Newtown: Clinging to Bears and Dogs...

Teddy Bear

It’s my very favorite place.
I feel closer to you there.
We rock the hours away.
Me and your Teddy Bear.

The rocking chair is squeaking,

as rocking chairs will do.
I pretend the one I’m holding
isn’t Teddy Bear, but you.

I miss your little chubby cheeks.

They were so fun to kiss.
Cuddling you, and hearing you goo
are among the things I miss.

Precious memories of you linger.

My child I miss you so.
I hope one day my heart will heal.
It’s hard to let you go.

When in time God calls me home

to be with you up there;
With joy I’ll hold you in my arms
instead of Teddy Bear.
By Ron Tranmer ©

Photo: David Goldman/AP

Teddy bears, each representing a victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, sit on a wall at a sidewalk memorial, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. A gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Friday and opened fire, killing 26 people, including 20 young children and six teachers.

But not only bears are there...

Nine dogs turned up in Newtown to help residents cope with their grief after Friday's brutal killing. Libby, Tilley, Abbie Einstein, Smartie Jones, Dutchess, Ruthie and Hannah and two other dogs came from far-off Illinois and Indiana via a Lutheran Church Charities "comfort dog" program that has its origins in the aftermath of the 2008 killing of five students by a gunman at Northern Illinois University..

Their mission in life is to make people feel better and most of them are especially trained to give emotional comfort and healing - by visiting nursing homes and centres for people with autism.

Read more here: http://www.sunherald.com/2012/12/17/4362961/newtown-plans-burials-as-schools.html#storylink=cpy
Lily Willinger, 2, pets therapy dog Tilley during a visit from the dogs and their handlers to a memorial for the victims of the school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.

Addison Strychalsky, 2, of Newtown Connecticut, pets Libby, a golden retriever therapy dog, during a visit from the dogs and their handlers to a memorial for the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims. Source: AP


The animals are trained to provide comfort and solace after tragedies and disasters such as Friday's shooting

Dutchess, another golden retriever, projected so much affection that few noticed she had no eyes - they were surgically removed after she contracted pigmentary uveitis, a painful eye disease seen almost exclusively in the breed.

"She does fine. She's a happy dog," said her owner Mark Condon, a biology professor at State University of New York and member of the Good Dog Foundation, another therapy dog network, as Dutchess snuggled up to an AFP reporter.

Dutchess, who turns 10 next month, typically drops in once or twice a week at an autism centre up the Hudson River from New York where she happily mingles with children eager to brush, feed and play ball with her.

In Newtown, on the other hand, many folks responded to Dutchess by simply running their hands over her rich silky coat.

"It's been very tactile," Mr Condon observed. "Some people don't even say anything - which is fine."

In another part of town, Ken Whalen of Smithfield, Rhode Island went directly to Hawley Elementary School with his seven-year-old golden retriever Cooper to comfort kids on Newtown's first day of school after the tragedy.

The need is so great in Newtown that the dogs and their handlers have split into teams to help more people

It won't be easy for the families of Newtown, Connecticut, to forget last Friday's horrific events.
But a group of cuddly dogs are at least providing some comfort to the children and parents heartbroken in days of lingering sadness.


Montag, 17. Dezember 2012

Strictly No Elephants....

Photo: Fox Photos/Getty Image

January 1927: 
A young visitor and her toy elephant finds that the elephant house at London Zoo is closed for their winter holidays.