The week's good news: Sept. 22, 2022
With casts as his canvas, hospital tech creates works of art for young patients
It all started with a happy face. A decade ago, Luis Ruiz, an orthopedic technician at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, was asked by a patient if he could draw one on his cast. Ruiz told the boy he wasn't great at drawing, but after Ruiz was finished, the child's face "lit up," Ruiz told People. That inspired Ruiz to start offering all of the kids he met a personalized drawing on their cast. "I was not very good, but as time went by, little by little, I got better and better, to a point where now I can almost do anything they ask for," he said. His repertoire includes Spider-Man, Hello Kitty, Tinker Bell, and the Wonder Woman emblem. Ruiz estimates he's painted thousands of casts in the last 10 years, and said he loves to make the patients smile and forget they are in the hospital. "The kids just bring me joy," Ruiz told People.
Dog rescue connects senior citizens with senior pups
Johanna Carrington loves dogs and had several as pets throughout her life — and at 100 years old, the California resident wasn't ready to have an empty nest. "Animals bring so much happiness in our home," she told Today. "It's unbelievable." Carrington was worried that because of her age, no shelter would let her adopt, but her neighbor is a volunteer with Muttville Senior Dog Rescue in San Francisco, and connected her with the perfect pet: Gucci, an 11-year-old Chihuahua mix. Carrington and Gucci were paired together through the rescue's Seniors for Seniors program, with Carrington's caregiver, Eddie Martinez, agreeing to take Gucci for daily walks. On his first day at Carrington's house, Gucci came in "like he'd been here before," Carrington said. "It was remarkable. He saw me sitting on my chair, jumped up on me and sat on my lap. He made himself very, very comfortable. He was just our baby right away." The Seniors for Seniors program also allows anyone who adopts and later cannot care for their dog due to hospitalization to bring them back to Muttville, giving everyone involved peace of mind. "We want them to still have that time together and experience the full joy of their senior years together," Alice Ensor, adoptions coordinator at Muttville, told Today.
Teen transforms chip bags into blankets
By taking discarded chip bags and turning them into blankets, a 12-year-old girl in Wales is helping both people in need and the environment. Alyssa started her project in August 2021, and in the last year has collected almost 10,000 chip bags to make 200 blankets. She works on them after school, and said it takes about an hour to finish a blanket. "Each packet has to be opened out so it's flat and then washed in the sink," Alyssa told BBC News. "Then you take four of them, put them under a piece of baking paper, and iron them so that the heat fuses them together. Finally, you sandwich the ... packets between two thin sheets of clear plastic, and you use the iron again to seal that in place." Chip bags aren't easy to recycle, Alyssa said, and she's happy to have found another use for the packaging while helping others. Alyssa and her mother give the blankets — along with gloves, socks, toothpaste, and other essentials — to local organizations in Wales that can distribute the items to people who are homeless. "You wouldn't think you could turn a crisp packet into something so helpful," Alyssa told BBC News, but people "like the blankets because they're really lightweight and waterproof."
Dozens of dogs hang 10 during surf-a-thon fundraiser
Cowabunga, canines! On Sunday, 70 pups and their owners competed in the Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon in Del Mar, California, an annual fundraiser for the Helen Woodward Animal Center in Rancho Santa Fe. The dogs compete in different groups — from extra small to extra large — and are judged on how well they stay on their surfboards and if they have a cool costume or can do any tricks. Now in its 17th year, the surf-a-thon attracts hundreds of people who get a kick out of watching dogs like Gus the Labrador ride the wives. Gus "loves to surf," owner Jack Rouss told The Coast News. "He trained himself and as time went on, I got bigger boards so he could hold onto the board better." Connie Horn drove her cocker spaniels, Samson and Delilah, all the way from Northern California so they could compete together. The Horn family raised almost $4,000 for the animal center, and Connie told The Coast News she loves the camaraderie at the surf-a-thon. "It's a lot of commitment to help the dogs surf and compete, and everyone helps each other," she said.
Austrian man surprises beekeeping neighbor with some of his land
The bees are buzzing in Leiten, Austria, thanks to resident Franz Nigl. His neighbor, Josef Krenn, is a hobby beekeeper, and Nigl decided he wanted to do something to help both Krenn and the insects. He turned one-fifth of his land into a meadow for Krenn with more than 40 different blooming plant species, making it the perfect environment for bees. "I've never experienced anything like that before," Krenn said. "We benefit from each other. Franz grows the flowers and in return he gets good honey from me." Nigl said next year, he intends to make even more of his land bee friendly. "I know that you can't do much yourself on a large scale anyway," he told the Tipps news outlet. "But you can on a small scale on your doorstep."