A New Black Lab Joins The Family!

Welcome to the Family, Harry Bellman!

I had no idea that my parents were secretly thinking about getting another dog.

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One week ago when I wrote my dog-sitting article, I had no idea that my parents were secretly thinking about getting another dog. On Saturday afternoon, I was sitting in the backyard with my mom when she casually brought up the fact that she was thinking about getting a puppy. When both my sister and I left home at the same time, she said that empty-nester syndrome really affected her. While she was nervous about introducing a new dog into our 8-year-old lab's life, she thought it might give both her and our current dog, Ollie, some well-needed company.

Grace Bellman

Two days after this conversation, we were on our way to a family friend's house to visit the litter of 8-week old black labs. After almost an hour-long discussion, we decided on "Red Paws" named after the design of his collar. As a family (after much thought and debate), we decided to name him, Harry. We were looking for a calm and gentle dog, similar in nature to Ollie. "Red Paws" was excitable and happy at first but slowly settled into our arms for a nap. He likes to hide behind pillows on the couch until all you can see is his hind legs sticking out from behind his fort.

They say dogs and their owners are reflections of one another. And I believe it. My dad and Ollie are so similar in many ways. They both stick their tongue out when they are concentrating and they both have an enthusiasm for life that is infectious. Hopefully, Harry will be the same. He is already settling into our daily routine and adopting some typical Bellman characteristics. He knows that in the evenings we all gather around the TV for dinner to watch NBC and PBS News. He is also slowly learning that we all learned to swim at a young age and that our dogs are no exception. We put him in our pool in our backyard for the first time the other day. Let's just say, he has some work to do. Learning to keep his head above water would be a great start.

I am excited to have a young puppy become a member of the family. Dogs are truly great companions and make home feel a little less lonely. Ollie has been a source of great comfort throughout middle school and high school, and somehow he always puts me in a good mood. Although Harry is young, I am excited to see him watch and imitate Ollie's mature behavior and grow into his rather large paws. Despite all the biting, chewing, and general mischief, I can see he has good intentions and desperately wants to please us.

So welcome to the family, Harry Bellman. You are coming into a very loving home. We are a little strange and some of us talk with weird accents (ie. British ones) but I think you will fit right in.

Cover Image Credit:

Grace Bellman

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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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5 Reasons It's Always Worth It To Be A Summer Camp Counselor

Summer camps have a special place in my heart, and I'm here to share that with you.

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Since I was 15, I have been a counselor at various summer camps. I have been a Program Aide at Girl Scout camp, a counselor at church camp, and a counselor at a day camp. These were all camps that I attended as a kid, so they already had a special place in my heart when I got a chance to work at them.

After being a camp counselor for five years, there are things that I have learned on the job that has helped me in life. Being a counselor has also helped me grow as a person. It's helped me gain skills that I don't think I would have learned in other jobs. I'm here to share what I love about the job of being a camp counselor.

1. You get to be the leader/role model

As a kid, there were many counselors in my life that I looked up to. They were people that I strived to be alike in my life, but now that I'm older, I get to be that person for the kid. What I say and do will influence how the kids around me act. That comes with a lot of stress, but it's also empowering. You can be a positive influence in a kids life, and hopefully, teach them important life lessons.

2. You can be your goofy self

One thing that I love about working with kids is that I can be silly around them. Kids won't judge you for being silly because they're silly right alongside you. They feed off your energy, and it can help them explore the world around them through communication. Plus, when was it not fun to be silly?

3. You get to hang out with kids all day

This reason might turn people off from the job, but it's a part of why I love being a counselor. Hanging out with kids tires me out at times, but they also motivate me to keep going. They're little balls of energy, and I feed off of other people's energies well. The kids also help me feel youthful and like nothing matters. Everything is fun to them; they help me keep a positive outlook on life.

4. Your coworkers become your best friends

Working at a summer camp can be difficult at times. It's emotionally and physically draining as well. But having a good support team helps with that. The counselors that I have worked with in the past have become my best friends, and I still stay in touch with some. They're there for you when no one else is, and they understand what you're going through. You know that their feelings for you are genuine, and they want to help as much as they can.

5. You get to watch the kids grow

Over the summer, I get to see the same kids every week at my camp. I get to see them grow as people over the summer and it's a rewarding experience knowing that I was able to help them. Watching them become leaders and grow into little helpers by the end of the summer is one of my favorite things.

I'm excited to have the opportunity to work at a summer camp again this year. I know that it'll provide an opportunity to grow as a person and I can't wait to see my favorite kids again.

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