Blog Posts by Nadine Kalinauskas

  • Golden retriever born without eyes fetches rave reviews as a therapy dog

    Smiley the golden retriever was born with dwarfism and without eyes.

    A fortunate rescue from a puppy mill gave the pup a second chance at life, and now the blind canine pays it forward by cheering others up.

    Stouffville, Ontario, dog trainer Joanne George adopted the dog when he was still young, around one to two years old.

    The scarred dog often cowered at the sounds of other dogs eating, was “extremely destructive” and had no housetraining.

    “He was nervous and had many anxieties about coming into a home,” George wrote on her blog.

    Over time, however, Smiley learned to trust his new owner, and even befriended a deaf Great Dane named Tyler.

    “Smiley was the one who changed my way of training,” George wrote. “He did not know one verbal command — I communicated only through my energy to him. He did not see my body language — he used his nose and his keen sense of hearing to get around. His best teacher was Tyler — a young, boisterous partially deaf Great Dane. Life was grand to Tyler —

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  • You’ve never heard ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ performed like this

    Postmodern Jukebox has done it again.

    The last time we gushed over this jazzy group, we were grooving along to their cover of the Duck Tales theme song. Now we’re grinning ear-to-ear over their vintage-jazz interpretation of Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise.”

    Watch their cool cover, featuring vocalist Robyn Adele Anderson, above.

    In October, the group recruited singer Von Smith for a Motown version of Taylor Swift’s infectious hit, “Shake It Off.”

    They also covered Sam Smith’s “I’m Not the Only One,” lending the tune a vintage New Orleans feel, thanks to upright bassist and singer Casey Abrams.

    And let’s not forget the “sad clown with the golden voice” version of Lorde’s “Royals:” equal parts cool and creepy.

    Check out the rest of their cool covers on YouTube. (Warning: This could turn into a day-long distraction.)

    Or check them out when their tour brings them to Montreal and Toronto later this spring.

    Follow Nadine on Twitter: @OnHerToes

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  • Smart pig shines at Seattle Kennel Club Dog Show

    This little piggy knows her stuff.

    Amy, a 45-pound, 6-month-old miniature pig, recently showed off her new tricks — and a few dance moves — at the Seattle Kennel Club Dog Show, unfazed by the canines surrounding her.

    “Amy will work for lettuce. There’s nothing I can’t teach her,” owner Lori Stock told the Seattle Times.

    "Amy has been the most trainable ‘dog’ I’ve ever worked with. As long as I give her clear instruction and I keep my handling precise, consistent and clear, she follows my lead perfect," Stock, a long-time dog owner, said

    Stock brought Amy, already housebroken, to the Family Dog Training Center for some obedience training alongside young puppies. The pig proved herself a fast learner, mastering agility courses designed for dogs, and was subsequently invited to participate in agility and obedience demonstrations at the annual dog show.

    “She was a well-behaved sweetheart that challenged other students,” said instructor Jayne Bosch. “The other handlers were amazed how

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  • A West Jet flight attendant is making headlines for her entertaining routine to “Uptown Funk” as she and other passengers waited for the final guests to board the aircraft.

    “My captain introduced me saying I had a little performance for them and that I’d offer workshops in the air,” flight attendant Caralee Savage wrote on YouTube.

    Her brother posted the video of the routine on Reddit, where users were quick to praise the Canadian airline — an online rarity.

    “I read the description and I just knew it would be WestJet,” wrote Reddit user Cosmonaut_Kittens. “They have such wonderful staff who make flying such a pleasant experience. I’m not the worst flyer, but hardly the best either and it’s lovely staff like your sister who help make it fun and enjoyable…please tell her we appreciate her so much!”

    “She’s the reason why people think WJ is as awesome as they are. The staff is always charismatic and entertaining. Always a pleasure flying with WJ,” wrote rdz1986.

    Earlier this winter,

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  • Customer leaves touching note, tip for waitress in honour of late brother

    Note posted to Reddit by Claire Hudson, left for her by a customer. (Imgur)Note posted to Reddit by Claire Hudson, left for her by a customer. (Imgur)

    A couple dining at Mac’s Grub Shack in Spring Hill, Tennessee, left a tip to remember.

    After finished their burger, beers and hot dogs, they left a handwritten note scrawled on the back of the receipt for waitress Claire Hudson to find.

    It read:

    “Today is my brother’s b-day. He would have been 36 today. Every year I go eat his favourite meal (hot dogs) and tip the waitress his age. Happy b-day Wes.”

    Sure enough, the couple left a $36 tip.

    "I’ve been a server for several years and this is the best tip I’ve ever gotten," Hudson, 25, told TODAY.com. “Not because of the money, but because of the meaning.”

    Claire Hudson (Facebook)Claire Hudson (Facebook)Hudson posted a photo of the note on Reddit.

    "I love Reddit and felt like it was a great picture that should be shared," she said. “I had no idea it would get that much attention! I think it’s fantastic that so many people liked it, but I mainly wanted to share the sweet memory.”

    Redditors were quick to share similar stories of celebrating lost loved ones.

    “I’ve done something similar to

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  • Viral Facebook photo helps reunite woman with long-lost mother

    Stacey Lee reunites with her mother. (Facebook)Stacey Lee reunites with her mother. (Facebook)

    When Stacey Lee was two years old, she and her two brothers went to live with their father.

    Lee, now 23, hadn’t seen her mother, Brenda Drake, in the two decades that followed — until a viral Facebook post helped reunite the women.

    After years of trying to locate her long-lost mother, the British woman took her boyfriend’s advice and took a photo of herself holding up a cardboard sign of her mother’s information on it and posted it on Facebook.

    Stacey Lee puts out a search for her mother online. (Facebook)Stacey Lee puts out a search for her mother online. (Facebook)The sign read:

    "Looking for my birth mother Brenda Elizabeth Davies. (May have another name) Born in Leyland. Had me in Manchester General 21st Oct. 1991. I also have 2 other brothers from my mum. If you have anything please contact me."

    The photo was shared more than 100,000 times.

    Within a day, a women claiming to be Lee’s cousin contacted her and put her in touch with Drake.

    “When I clicked on my mum’s Facebook profile I couldn’t believe it – she looked just like me!’ Lee told the Daily Mail.

    “I sent her a message and told her that I had

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  • Sick Georgia teen gets prom dress of her dreams

    Abby Gladin poses with Miss Georgia and Miss Colorado in her new prom dress. (Facebook)Abby Gladin poses with Miss Georgia and Miss Colorado in her new prom dress. (Facebook)

    She said yes to the prom dress.

    Abby Gladin, 17, has missed a lot of school in the last ten years.

    She’s been in and out of hospitals, undergoing numerous surgeries, as she lives with painful Crohn’s disease.

    Still, the Atlanta, Georgia, teen dreams of living a “normal” life, going to school with her friends, and attending prom with her boyfriend.

    When Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta learned how important prom was to Abby, hospital officials arranged a special prom dress shopping trip for her.

    A chauffeured car picked up the teen at her doctor’s appointment and drove her and her mother, aunt and cousins to a local dress boutique where she could select any dress she wanted — for free.  

    "I feel so special!" she told 11alive.com.

    As Abby searched for the perfect dress — she wanted a red-carpet-worthy dress that would accommodate her colostomy bag — Miss Georgia and Miss Colorado made a surprise visit the shop, lending the teen a crown for a photo.

    "This is so cool, I feel like this

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  • Retired nurse uses her pension to feed the hungry in her community

    Retired nurse Charolette Tidwell is giving back to her community, and she couldn't be happier. Retired nurse Charolette Tidwell is giving back to her community, and she couldn't be happier.

    In 2000, recently retired nurse Charolette Tidwell learned that seniors in her neighbourhood, in need of cheap sources of protein, were resorting to eating pet food.

    "Allowing the generation that raised us to go to the point that they’re eating cat food and dog food, I can’t imagine that," Tidwell, 69, told NBC Nightly News. “I think it’s a forgotten population.”

    So Tidwell, who grew up poor and was taught to always help those in need, invested her pension in her community, launching the social services agency Antioch Consolidated Association for Youth and Family. She now feeds about 7,000 people a month in her hometown of Fort Smith, Arkansas, through the food pantry where she works, unpaid, six days a week.

    "In Arkansas, more than 160,000 seniors face hunger, according to a press release issued by Gov. Beebe and a study released by the Arkansas Department of Human Services Division of Aging and Adult Services," Ken Kupchick, director of marketing and development for the River Valley

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  • Man proposes every day for a year — without his girlfriend knowing

    Dean Smith clandestinely proposed to his girlfriend for 365 consecutive days, and she was none the wiser. Dean Smith clandestinely proposed to his girlfriend for 365 consecutive days, and she was none the wiser.

    On January 8, 2014, Dean Smith started filming a video that would be one year in the making. He held up a white board that asked his girlfriend, Jennifer Kessel, to marry him. It was her 25th birthday.

    The next day, he filmed himself proposing with a white board again.

    Then he did it the next day. And the next. Each board had the day’s date, and each scene was edited to count down the days until Jennifer’s next birthday — his intended proposal date.

    He held up the sign while flossing, doing laundry and eating breakfast.

    He asked her while showering, hanging out with his dog and gardening.

    At work, in the car and at the beach, he kept asking.

    He did this for an entire year, editing together 365 proposals in time for the big day.

    "I knew that Jennifer was a fan of proposal videos on YouTube and would tear up at the sincerity and thoughtfulness of each proposal," Smith told The Huffington Post.

    "She showed several of them to me, and I decided that I wanted to make her tear up to her own

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  • British man who wanted to be a father uses his mother as a surrogate

    (Photo via Thinkstock)(Photo via Thinkstock)

    A single gay British man in his twenties is in the process of adopting his own biological 7-month-old son — from his mother.

    While some raised eyebrows at the news of a man using his own mother as a surrogate for his child, a judge deemed the “unusual arrangement” — the man’s mother carried the baby using another woman’s eggs — “entirely lawful under the relevant statutory provisions.”

    According to the Telegraph, the judge wrote that the baby “has lived with…his biological father since birth. All the reports describe (the man’s) care of (the infant) as being to a high standard.”

    The judge also revealed that another family member initially agreed to be the surrogate, but had to back out for medical reasons.

    "The papers show that for some considerable time he has wanted to be a father," Justice Theis said at a family court hearing at the High Court in London. “He waited until his circumstances were settled in terms of a job and home to enable him to provide the care a child would need.”

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