October, I Miss You Already

October, I Miss You Already

A goodbye letter to my favorite month.
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Dear October,

As I sit here writing this I am sad because I am writing this as a goodbye letter. I have never liked goodbyes. I always dread saying goodbye to my favorite month.

Fall is my absolute favorite season and I feel like fall is at its peak during the month of October. The leaves have changed color but they haven’t all fallen off the trees yet. So there is a bright, vibrant color on the ground and in the trees. I love how it feels to be surrounded by warm colors.

Growing up, I always wished I had a birthday in October. Don’t get me wrong, I love my August birthday and being a Leo has its advantages, but my love for October runs so deep I wish I could say I was born in October.

As odd as it sounds I feel like I fit in with the month of October. My wardrobe consists of black, gray, and a few shades of blue. I feel like my usually dark wardrobe and my desire to paint my nails black makes me blend in more during October. During the summer months, I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb because I wear dark colors and have dark hair. During October, I feel like this month was made for me based on my style.

I’m also a horror and thriller movie fanatic and I love a good ghost story. I had my Halloween decorations up on October 1st. I live for all things spooky and scary and I love walking down the sidewalk and seeing all the Halloween decorations.

I’m going to miss the crisp October air. I’m going to miss the days when the temperature is just right and you only need a light jacket to go on an enjoyable walk outside.

In my eyes a perfect day is an cool, overcast day. One where I can wake up and enjoy my morning coffee with the windows open and feel the cool breeze coming though. A day where I can wear jeans, boots, and a sweater. I would walk around outside in the morning and take pictures of the fall foliage. Then I would come home and make a cup of tea and watch a scary movie or read a thriller novel while I'm wrapped up in a fuzzy blanket. If I somehow end up like Bill Murray in "Groundhog Day" I would want it to be a day in October that I'm forced to repeat.

October I’m going to miss you. So I’ll spend my days Googling where I can live where the weather is permanently like yours and listening to podcasts about murderers so I can pretend that Halloween is still right around the corner.

Until next year,

Your biggest admirer

Cover Image Credit: Jenna Collins

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20 Of The Coolest Animal Species In The World

Animals that almost seem imaginary.
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The world is full of amazing animals. So amazing, that narrowing them down to 20 felt nearly impossible. To determine who made the cut for this list, I used very important factors such as, cuteness and how much some of them looked like Pokémon . I know, very official. So here are some of the coolest animals in the world.

1. Pink Fairy Armadillo

The pink fairy armadillo is the smallest and cutest species of armadillo. It is on the list of threatened species and is found in the sandy plains, dunes, and grasslands of Argentina. The pink fairy armadillo is a nocturnal creature that survives mostly on insects and plants.


2. Okapi

The okapi is an animal native to the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. Although the stripes make many people believe okapi are related to zebra, they are actually closer to giraffe. Okapi are solitary creatures and come together to breed. They are herbivores, mostly eating leaves, grass, and other plants.


3. Glaucus Atlanticus or "the Blue Dragon"

These little dragon-like creatures are often only about a few inches long and can be found in the Indian Pacific Oceans. The blue dragon floats upside down in order to blend the blue side of them with the water, and the silver side with the surface of the ocean. This tiny dragon feeds on creatures like the man o' war and can even deliver a sting similar to it.


4. The Maned Wolf

The maned wolf is often found in the grasslands of south, central-west, and southeastern parts of Brazil. It is neither related to wolves nor foxes despite its appearance and name, but is actually closer to dogs. The maned wolf hunts alone and primarily eats both meat and plants (about 50% of its diet).


5. Fossa

The fossa is a carnivorous animal located in Madagascar. Despite having many traits similar to cats, it is more closely related to the Mongoose. The fossa is only found in forest habitats and can hunt in either daytime or night. Over 50 percent of its diet happens to be lemurs.


6. Japanese Spider Crab

As the name suggestions, the Japanese spider crab inhabits the waters surrounding Japan. In many parts of Japan, this crab can be considered a delicacy but can be considerably difficult to catch. The Japanese spider crab can grow to 12 feet long from claw to claw. There is only one sea creature-- amongst similar species (aka crustaceans)-- that beats the weight of a Japanese spider crab: the American Lobster.


7. Pacu Fish

Look closely at the teeth, do they look familiar? This fish is found in the waters of South America. This fish, while related to the piranha, can actually grow much larger. They can also be found in rivers like the Amazon and is an aid to the fishing industry. Unlike the piranha, pacu mostly only eat seeds and nuts, though can still create nasty injuries to other animals if need be.


8. Slow Loris

The slow loris is a nocturnal creature found in Southeast Asia. While very adorable, the loris's teeth are actually quite venomous. The toxin on their teeth can also be applied to fur through grooming to protect its babies from predators. Often times these creatures forage and spend time alone, although can on occasion be seen with other slow lorises. Apart from their toxic teeth, the slow lorises have another defense mechanism, in which they move nearly completely silently in order to prevent discovery.


9. Angora Rabbit

These cute, fluffy rabbits are among the hairiest breeds of rabbit of both wild and domestic types. These rabbits originated in Turkey although managed to spread throughout Europe and was even brought to the United States in the 20th century. These rabbits are often bred for their soft wool which can be made into clothing, and often get rid of their own coats every 3-4 months.


10. Axolotl

The axolotl or "Mexican salamander" (who looks like a Pokémon , if you ask me) is often spotted in lakes in various places around Mexico. These little salamanders are amphibious although often spend their adult lives strictly in the water. However, the population of these cute creatures is dwindling due to non-native predators and the continued urbanization of Mexico. The axolotl eats small worms, insects, and fish in order to survive.


11. Liger

The liger, however made up it sounds, is a real (and cute) animal created by a lion and a tiger mating. Ligers only seem to exist in captivity or zoos because the lion and tiger don't share the same habitat in the wild. Unfortunately, these animals don't live very long or are sterile despite being bigger than both the lion and the tiger. While these animals are cool and unique, they are not strictly natural or sustainable.


12. Bearded Vulture

I don't know about you all, but this vulture reminds me of a phoenix which was initially why I looked into the creature. These vultures inhabit a range of places from southern Europe to the Indian subcontinent, to Tibet. This vulture, like other vultures, typically eats dead animals, although it has been documented that the bearded vulture will attack live prey more often than other vultures.


13. Goblin Shark


This unusual shark is also known as a "living fossil" because they are the last representative of sharks that lived about 125 million years ago. It is a deep sea shark that can grow between 10-13 feet if not longer. The goblin shark has been caught accidentally in every major ocean. The goblin shark is not a fast swimmer and relies on ambushing its prey.


14. Red Panda

This cute, small panda lives in the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. The red panda is rather small, only about the same size as most domestic cats. Its eating habits range from bamboo, to eggs, to insects, and several other small mammals. The red panda is primarily sedentary during the day and at night or in the morning does whatever hunting it needs to do.


15. Blobfish

This blobfish is, in a way, so ugly that it is cute (although reminds me of a certain Pokémon ) This fish lives in the deep waters of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. The blobfish has a density only sightly above that of water. The fish primarily hunts by just floating along and letting creatures wander into its mouth, rather than expending any energy.


16. Leaf Deer

The leaf deer is usually found in dense forests in the northwest region of Putao. The adult leaf deer only stands at about 20 inches high and the males and females are nearly identical except for an inch long horn on the males. It is called a leaf deer because hunters could wrap the deer in a single large leaf.


17. Tiger

While tigers are a more common animal than many others on this list, it is still one of the coolest animals in the world. Tigers are the largest of all cats and once ranged from Russia, to Turkey, to parts of Asia — almost all over the world. These animals are fierce, powerful creatures, although they are on the endangered species list.


18. Narwhals

Narwhals are a species of whale that live in the waters around Greenland, Canada, and Russia. The narwhal's diet changes depending on the time of year: in the spring the narwhal will eat cod, while in the winter the narwhal will eat flatfish. Narwhals can live up to 50 years and most frequently die of suffocation from being trapped under the ice.


19. Cheetah

Cheetahs, while more commonly heard of then some of the other animals on this list, are still incredibly cool. They often inhabit many parts of Africa and Iran. These amazing cats can reach up to 60 miles per hour in three seconds and use their tails to make quick and sudden turns. These amazing cats also have semi-retractable claws which helps with speed. The cheetah, however, doesn't have much besides speed to defend itself.


And finally....


20. Superb Bird of Paradise

This GIF demonstrates the mating dance used by male superb birds of paradise. Typically females reject about 20 mates before selecting one they want to mate with. They are often found in New Guinea although it is unsure just how many of these birds there are. As far as scientists know, the population has remained stable.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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Animal Rights In The United States Is Still An Important Issue

Elle Woods and her fictional journey to ending animal testing with the help of her dog Bruiser might have made viewers think animal testing could be easily defeated, but it sadly isn't anywhere near our current reality

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As a spokesperson for animal rights since I was 12, I've watched the United States with hope for the state of animal rights to improve and flourish. The United States certainly has many basics covered for animal rights, and nearly every state and territory treat animal abuse as a felony (with the exception of South Dakota and Guam). But this isn't enough to protect helpless creatures, and when I discovered how much was left to change and improve, it lit a fire in me to join the fight and give a voice to the voiceless.

Animal Rights encompasses so much, so I want to focus on the areas that have become the most prominently debated and have reached many state houses and senates in order to be voted on. Animal testing, the selling of shelter animals in stores, and wildlife hunting regulations. There is so much more out there, however, and so many bills can use your support and possibly testimony, so checking with your local animal rights groups to see what can be done is always helpful.

Animal testing is detested by many and supported by others. Elle Woods and her fictional journey to ending animal testing with the help of her dog Bruiser might have made viewers think animal testing could be easily defeated, but it sadly isn't anywhere near our current reality. Animal testing will take many more years to end, and currently exists in every state in the U.S. However, four states have taken the step forward and banned animal testing for cosmetics, including California, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia. Animal activists will continue to push states toward joining these four and end the cruel cosmetic testing on animals.

While animal testing will be a behemoth to end entirely, a few states have seen incredible success with passing 'The Right to Release' bill. This is a bill championed by activists, and beagles who survived animal testing, and were released to loving homes. Currently, most animal testing labs will euthanize their test subjects once they are no longer needed. This is almost always unnecessary, as the animals (many of which are beagles, due to their forgiving nature) are usually healthy enough to live out many more years of life. The Right to Release, which has been supported by numerous labs themselves, would allow these animals to be adopted out through the lab, or given to a shelter. I was able to join supporters and watch the bill pass the Oregon Senate unanimously.

Animal testing survivor Leila and Emma

Animal adoption is a great option for finding an incredible animal who will fit into your life and family. However, many stores around the U.S. still sell animals from mills, where hundreds of animals are bred and raised in poor conditions. These animals may be adorable and tempting to people passing by, but many of these pets end up becoming sickly, and can commonly develop conditions that lead to short lives. California and Maryland have passed a bill requiring animals sold be shelter animals, and dozens of others have had it proposed or are currently voting on the issue. Unfortunately for Oregonians, this bill was killed in the House Business and Labor Committee. Hopefully, in time this bill can return for a vote. The goal of this bill is for stores to promote the adoption of shelter pets instead of supporting puppy mills. By doing so, loving animals who need a home will be given that chance.

Although pets are usually the first thing that comes to mind with animal rights, there are millions of wild animals in the United States who also deserve rights, and are being supported by activists. In the past few years, the news has been filled with stories of unlawful killings of mother bears and their cubs, defenseless and sleeping at the time of their death. President Trump has publicly supported removing the ban, therefore allowing hunters to legally kill them. Additionally, the U.S. Department of the Interior has proposed removing legislation prohibiting sport hunting practices in National Parks, designed to preserve the parks and wildlife. Positive hunting issues have been presented throughout the country as well, though. New Jersey has regulated harming endangered animals, and Oregon has proposed a bill to stop gruesome coyote hunting contests.

Animal Rights will continue to be an issue of give and take, but there will always be dedicated people who want the best for animals and will take to lobbying, fundraising and campaigning to make the differences needed to save and protect the pets and wildlife alike in the United States.

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