A fin whale.
(Image credit: Francois Gohier/VW Pics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

1. Lost pup ends up competing in dog show — and wins 3rd place

Bonnie the beagle mix went on quite the adventure Sunday, which culminated in the lost canine winning third place in a dog show. Bonnie was a stray in Crete before being adopted four years ago by the Closier family in Bolney, West Sussex, England. After she escaped from her house on Sunday, she was found on the side of the road by John Wilmer. He was driving his own two pups to a dog show in Felbridge when he came across Bonnie, and after posting her picture on Facebook, decided to take her along to the contest. "She was such a lovely dog, I thought it'd be good to enter her," Wilmer told BBC News. She was a hit with the judges, and ended up winning third place in the rescue dog class. "I was so pleased she did so well," Wilmer said. While Bonnie was winning ribbons, her family was frantically looking for her, and once she was brought back home they were stunned by how she had spent her afternoon on the run. "We're so thrilled she's safe and well and also a winner," owner Paula Closier said. "You couldn't make this stuff up."

BBC News

2. Bride gives new life to her wedding dress by passing it on to a stranger

Gwendolyn Stulgis was elated when she found the perfect wedding dress — and she's making sure other brides experience that same glorious feeling. The gown was $3,000, and Stulgis told The Washington Post at first she couldn't justify spending "so much money on a dress that I would put in a box and never wear again." Then, the Ohio resident had an idea: After her May 6 wedding, she would give the dress to another bride, for free. She posted on different Facebook groups, and asked people to message her if they liked the gown and agreed to pass it on, saying she wants the chain to "keep going as long as the dress can stand." She received 72 messages, and felt a connection to Margaret Hyde. When she met Hyde and gave her the dress, "I felt like it was meant to be," Stulgis told the Post. Hyde can't wait to wear the gown at her October wedding, and "absolutely" loves knowing she will soon be giving it away herself.

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The Washington Post

3. Fin whales are making a comeback in the Antarctic

Researchers studying fin whales in the Antarctic were astonished to observe 150 of the creatures eating krill near Elephant Island — a welcome sight after they were almost hunted to extinction decades ago. In a study published last week in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers said they witnessed multiple gatherings of fin whales in their ancestral feeding grounds off the coast of Antarctica. "I've never seen so many whales in one place before and was absolutely fascinated watching these massive groups feed," said study co-author Bettina Meyer, a biologist and professor at Alfred Wegener Institute. By the time a commercial whaling ban went into effect about 40 years ago, it was estimated that just 1 to 2 percent of fin whales survived. Seeing so many in their feeding grounds is "raising hope that fin whales are on their way to pre-exploitation numbers," the researchers said. Research suggests that several whale species pass information about feeding sites through mothers, and the study proposes that "the location of the Antarctic feeding sites might have been lost to generations of fin whales until now because their populations were so decimated and disconnected by whaling," NBC News writes.

NBC News

4. Bartender surprised with $4,000 tip on $180 bill

It was an ordinary Tuesday at Chances Dance Hall in Cleburne, Texas, bartender Chelsea Lantrip said, until "two random girls" walked in and ordered a round of drinks for everyone. The bill came to $179.50, and one of the women put $1,000 as the tip. Lantrip told NBC 5 she started to cry, and the women said, "No, that's not good enough," and increased the tip to $2,000. She didn't stop there — ultimately, the generous patron left a $4,000 tip. "I didn't believe it until it went through the credit card machine, I still didn't believe it until it hit the bank," Lantrip said. A single mom who lives paycheck to paycheck, Lantrip is thrilled to now have enough money to help her "brilliant" son pay his tuition at Texas A&M University. "I believe in guardian angels," she said. "I believe in people coming into your life at the right time that you need them. And she was definitely one of them." The owner of Chances Dance Hall said all she could find out about the mysterious tipper is she recently received an inheritance and felt the need to "tithe it to a stranger."


5. Minnesota teen raises $77,000 to build a veterans memorial in his hometown

Dominique Claseman was just 15 years old when he went to the city council meeting in his hometown of Olivia, Minnesota, and said he wanted to build a veterans memorial as his Eagle Scout project. He had architectural plans and the spot already selected, and intended to raise $12,000. The community backed him every step of the way, and in about two years Claseman ended up collecting more than $77,000 for the memorial, allowing him to add to it. "I wanted to show more appreciation in a bigger way," Claseman, whose dad served in Iraq, told KARE 11. The memorial is in a local park, and features 280 pavers engraved with the names of veterans and military members who died in combat, as well as black granite benches, bronze statues, and flags. The groundbreaking was in early May, and the monument was fittingly dedicated on Memorial Day. Claseman, now 17, said he hopes his two younger brothers will add even more to the memorial for their own Eagle Scout projects.


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