The week's good news: December 21, 2017
It wasn't all bad!
Boy calls 911 to report the Grinch's plans to steal Christmas
After watching several videos online about a Grinch who wanted to steal Christmas, concerned citizen TyLon Pittman, 5, did what he was told to do in an emergency situation: call 911. Pittman told a Mississippi dispatcher what he knew about the Grinch, and warned her to be on the lookout. The amused woman wrote about their conversation on Facebook, in a post seen by Byram Police Officer Lauren Develle. Develle stopped by Pittman's house on Saturday, and promised she'd catch the Grinch if she saw him. Two days later, Pittman got a call from Develle, who said she found the Grinch, and needed help booking him at the station. To thank Pittman, Byram Police Chief Luke Thompson offered the junior crime fighter a future with the department. "When you turn 21, come back and I'm going to give you a job application, okay?" he said.
A cat named D-O-G helps train service canines
If the canines being trained by Support Dogs Inc. in St. Louis can handle D-O-G, they'll be able to tackle anything that comes their way. Support Dogs Inc. trains service dogs, and after two years, they go to their new homes, assisting people who are deaf or have mobility issues. Over the summer, a black and white cat showed up at the facility, and the staff adopted him, naming him D-O-G — pronounced dee-oh-gee. D-O-G thinks he's one of the d-o-g-s, Support Dogs Inc. president and CEO Anne Klein told The Associated Press. He's "fearless," and not afraid to sleep in the dog beds, use their food and water bowls, and swat at their tails. D-O-G not realizing he's a cat is doing the dogs a favor — he's making them comfortable around other animals and teaching them to stay focused and not get distracted.
Chicago college graduate is a role model for students with autism
They were setbacks that could have easily sent him spiraling, but Paris King pushed through and is now officially a Roosevelt University graduate. King, 23, is on the autism spectrum, and after graduating from high school with honors, the history lover was encouraged by his family to go to college. Over the last four years, he faced immense challenges, including the death of his father and being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Through it all, King never skipped class, and always turned in assignments. King worked closely with Danielle Smith, the university's associate director of academic success, who hopes King will be viewed as a role model for people with autism or disabilities who want to go to college. "Paris never has a bad attitude," she told The Chicago Tribune. "He always finds a way to do it."
8-year-old girl reads books to sick kids via YouTube
About once a week, Shira Josephson grabs one of her favorite books, snuggles up to her stuffed animals, and records herself reading out loud so children who are too sick to leave their hospital beds can enjoy hearing stories via her YouTube page. The 8-year-old came up with the idea to read to seriously ill kids via YouTube after going through training to become a junior ambassador at Children's Hospital Los Angeles and learning there is a special area for kids who are too sick to leave their rooms. "It's been exciting to watch her come up with all these ideas and to help her make them come to life," her mother, Brooke Josephson, told People. Josephson reads classics like Corduroy, Paddington Bear, and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, and also takes requests.
Panda cub makes its long-awaited debut at Tokyo zoo
Two thousand lottery winners in Japan hit the jackpot this week, when they got to be the first people to see Xiang Xiang, the first panda born at Tokyo's Ueno Zoo in nearly 20 years. Tens of thousands of people entered the lottery to get a glimpse of the 6-month-old, and on Dec. 19, the lucky winners gathered at the zoo to see the adorable panda and her mother, Shin Shin, play in their enclosure. The zoo plans on limiting Xiang Xiang's exposure to just two-and-a-half hours a day. When the public was invited to suggest names for the cub, more than 300,000 people sent in their ideas, with Xiang Xiang proposed 5,161 times; Xiang Xiang can mean "fragrance" or "popular."