The week's good news: Oct. 6, 2022
Husband deployed overseas surprises pregnant wife at the hospital
Harold Leroy Rahming made it home just in time to welcome Harold Leroy Rahming II to the world. The elder Rahming is a doctor and captain in the U.S. Army National Guard. In September, he was nearing the end of a three-month deployment, and worked it out so he could arrive back home in Illinois around the time his wife, Cara Rahming, was due with their first child. "There were times that I didn't think I was gonna make it," Harold told Good Morning America, especially when he learned that his wife went to the hospital before her due date because she was concerned about the baby's movement. Once Harold got to the hospital, he spoke with the nurses and told them he wanted to surprise his wife. He waited for her to go into the bathroom, then slipped into her room. Cara said she was confused when she opened the bathroom door and saw nurses with their phones out, but then saw her husband "to the left in his full military uniform." She was stunned, and while she had "a lot of emotions to process ... I know the definite emotion I felt once I saw him was joy." Their son was born Sept. 18 and is "really, really healthy," his parents said.
New San Francisco restaurant offers fine dining for haute dogs
On this menu, don't expect to find kibble. At Dogue, a fine-dining restaurant that opened in San Francisco's Mission District last month, the customers are all canines. Recent offerings include green-lipped mussels with fermented carrots and wheatgrass, grass-fed steak tartare with microgreens, and pastries from the in-house "pawtisserie." Owner and head chef Rahmi Massarweh, who has experience in the food industry and owned a doggy day care with his wife, told the Los Angeles Times that "what we do doesn't generally exist. My approach is as if it were a human restaurant. It's as if you have come into my restaurant, and the star guest is your dog." A veterinarian signs off on Massarweh's creations, so owners know they are getting a balanced meal, and the chef only uses organic ingredients grown locally; because he focuses on seasonal products, the menu often changes, with the fanciest dishes available on Sundays as part of a $75 three-course meal. Jason Villacampa brought his corgis Captain and Tony to Dogue's grand opening, and told the Times he's happy to have another way to bond with his pups. "Food is a love language, and I think it's another way to kind of express and share love with your dog," he said.
More than $150,000 raised for animal sanctuaries during Goat Games
To make it through the pandemic, the owner of a New York animal sanctuary had to get creative — and that's how the Goat Games came to be. "Covid did a number on us, as it did on nonprofits around the world," Kathy Stevens, founder and executive director of Catskill Animal Sanctuary, said in a statement. "Funding plummeted overnight, while the urgent needs of hundreds of animals remained the same. So in 2020, we created the Goat Games as a way for animal lovers and athletes to support the work of farm sanctuaries and the thousands of animals who call these special places home." This year's Goat Games took place virtually August 12 through 15, with 222 "athletes" participating, representing 14 farmed animal sanctuaries. The athletes sign up for different activities, from running to reading, and take pledges from supporters. In addition to being a fundraiser, the event gave sanctuaries the opportunity to show off what they do every day, and how the money they earn goes to help — donations are used to buy hay and feed, purchase land, build new shelters, and provide veterinary care. The final totals are in, and for 2022, the athletes raised $153,789 from 1,791 supporters.
Grower's 2,480-pound pumpkin sets Massachusetts fair record
The tenth time was the charm for Jamie Graham. This Tyngsborough, Massachusetts, man has been growing pumpkins for the last decade and entering them in the Topsfield Fair's annual All New England Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off. After coming in second place in 2021, Graham finally won the contest this year with a pumpkin weighing 2,480 pounds. Not only did he take first place, but Graham also set a fair record. "It was such a surreal moment," he told Today. "Intense, emotional, and amazing. It was a really cool experience." Graham's children named the pumpkin Bear Swipe, because in years past, black bears have clawed at their dad's gourds. He's contemplating turning Bear Swipe into a jack-o'-lantern, and said he will definitely donate seeds to local pumpkin clubs and growers. "I hope that lots of people can have those seeds and they can grow them next year," Graham said. "Hopefully, they'll grow into a big pumpkin for someone or for me again."
Nicole Mann makes history as 1st Native American woman in space
SpaceX's fifth manned mission to the International Space Station (ISS) launched from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday, and at the helm as commander is Nicole Mann, the first Native American woman to go to space. The 45-year-old former Marine Corps pilot is from Northern California and a member of the Wailaki tribe of the Round Valley Indian Tribes, and joined NASA's astronaut corps in 2013. She will spend six months on the ISS conducting more than 200 experiments, alongside fellow NASA astronaut Josh Cassada; Koichi Wakata of Japan; and Anna Kikina of Russia. Mann has said she realized later in her career that she wanted to become an astronaut, and told NPR, "If you don't go after a dream or a goal and if you don't try, you're never going to make it. Never discount yourself." Her feat comes 20 years after John Herrington became the first Native American man to walk in space.