It wasn't all bad!

The week's good news: May 26, 2022

1

Teen creates sports psychology website to help young athletes develop their mental game

Anxiety was interfering with Brandon Shintani's performance on the basketball court — and that's when he realized that for an athlete, mental training is just as important as physical training. Shintani, a 17-year-old high school junior from Ridgewood, New Jersey, became interested in the concept of sports psychology, and wanted to offer a free resource for young athletes. Two years ago, he founded the website Mind-DesignSports.org, to help teens strengthen their mental game. A global team writes blogs and records podcasts for the website, sharing information on topics like letting go of mistakes. "It's what I would have appreciated when I was younger," Shintani told The Week. Mind-Design Sports also has a mentorship program that connects young athletes with college and high school athletes. For Shintani, it's important to him that teens know you don't have to be an athlete to take advantage of the tips and advice shared on the website. "It's applicable for anybody," he said. "A competitive musician who feels anxious before a big performance can use breathing techniques. I see a lot of 'sports psychology' as life psychology, and these mental strategies can help with anything."

2

DNA test leads to reunion of rescue dog with her puppies

A DNA test did more than just unlock the key to Dolly's past — it also reunited the rescue dog with her puppies. Dolly was adopted in Winnipeg by Holly Blair, a pet photographer living in Toronto. Blair told The Week she decided to purchase an Embark Dog DNA test so she could learn more about Dolly's breed mix, and was "completely shocked" when the results came back with information about the puppies Dolly had before she was adopted. "I didn't realize they actually connected relatives by matching DNA from the database," Blair said. "I was only focused on the breed identification part. ... I knew that she had puppies and had been separated too early but I had accepted that I wouldn't ever get to know about them or that part of her life." Blair contacted the owners of Dolly's puppies, and learned they were all now in loving homes around Winnipeg. Blair and Dolly are looking forward to visiting them in the future, and in the meantime, Blair is enjoying all of the ways Dolly has changed her life, from teaching her how to be "patient," "compassionate," and "protective" to showing "how important love and listening is."

3

College student discovers surprise connection between her boyfriend and late mom

A photo snapped more than a decade ago is Leah Menzies' wish come true. Menzies, 18, has been dating Thomas McLeodd, 18, for about seven months. When Menzies was just seven years old, her mother died of liver failure, and it made her sad that her mom would never get to meet McLeodd. During Menzies' first visit to McLeodd's parents' house, his mom shared stories about his childhood, and asked him to show Menzies a funny picture of him taken at his preschool. When he took out a photo album and opened it to the right page, McLeodd cried out. "I couldn't figure out why he was being so dramatic," Menzies told Today. It turns out, he was looking at a picture of himself with his preschool teacher: Menzies' late mother. He recognized her face from a photo in Menzies' room, and his mom recalled that she was "kind and really gentle." Menzies told Today it is "incredible that she knew him. What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea."

4

Long-lost sisters who met after 48 years now work together

Michele Dugan and Trisha Morgan-Tilley have a motto: after being apart for 48 years, they are going to make the best of the time they have left together. Michele was adopted, and told Fox 5 she loves her family, "but I just always felt like there was someone else out there maybe, and I didn't know who that was." In 2019, she signed up for an Ancestry.com account, and found that missing person: her half-sister, Trisha. The women learned they were both born in 1970, and have the same biological father, who died in 2004. Trisha moved to Las Vegas as a child, while Michele moved there in 1994, and they lived a few miles from each other. Their children are also the same age and attended the same high school. The similarities don't stop there — Michele has spent 25 years as a real estate agent, and at the time they met, Trisha was taking real estate courses. With Michele's encouragement, she earned her certification, and the pair joined forces to start the Sisters Selling Vegas team with Realty ONE Group. "I now have a best friend and a sister and everything all wrapped into one," Trisha said.

5

Baby giraffe able to walk after doctor made her custom braces

It was a tall order, but when Ara Mirzaian was approached by the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and asked to fit a baby giraffe with a brace, he accepted the challenge. Msituni was born on Feb. 1, and immediately, her caretakers noticed her front limb was bending the wrong way. They were concerned Msituni would not survive if this wasn't corrected, as she wouldn't be able to nurse or walk around. Msituni was 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighed 100 pounds, and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park staff decided if they were going to get her properly fitted for a brace, they needed help from an outside expert. Mirzaian has been fitting braces for 30 years, but Msituni was his first animal patient. Using cast moldings of her legs, his team made carbon graphite braces, and even added a giraffe pattern. Msituni only ended up needing one custom brace, and after 10 days, the problem was corrected. "It was the coolest thing to see an animal like that walk in a brace," Mirzaian told The Associated Press. "It feels good to know we saved a giraffe's life."

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