Michael Phelps follows the GOAT path until the finish

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He left it all in the pool, every inch of his lean and bruised body, every dazzling and dark moment of his career, all swirling behind him in the roiling waters of the Olympic Aquatics Center.

He bent down over the deck in exhaustion. He stayed down, staring at the blue floor, basking, breathing, until he finally found the strength to straighten, thrust up his arms and wave his hands in a universal gesture of goodbye.

Thousands of fans wearing a dizzying diversity of colors and flapping many-hued flags stood for the guy wearing the red, white and blue.

And soon thereafter, in accents and tongues from all over the globe, they chanted his name.

“Mich-ael Phelps! Mich-ael Phelps!”

On a thick-throated Saturday night in Rio, the air was filled with the sort of singular appreciation never heard from an entire Olympics crowd.

For one moment, it felt as if the entire sporting world was putting aside its differences to say farewell to the greatest.

Michael Phelps is the greatest Olympian ever, now and forever, and the final race of his five Olympics was filled with the richness of what exactly that means.
Michael Phelps’ final race ends in gold in Rio de Janeiro

It means a record 23 gold medals, and a record 28 overall, after his butterfly leg pushed the U.S. men’s team to a victory in the 400-meter medley relay.

It means six medals, five of them gold, in these Games at age 31. Six medals four years after he retired the first time. Six medals that make him the most decorated athlete at four consecutive Olympics. Think about that.

“It’s just insane, it’s mind-blowing,” Phelps said this week, and both phrases are insane understatements.

He is Peyton Manning, but only if Manning had been the MVP of that last Super Bowl.

He is Kobe Bryant, but only if Bryant had scored those final 60 points in an NBA Finals Game 7.

He is Barry Bonds, but clean. He is Tiger Woods, with redemption.

On Saturday, swimming the third leg of a relay he once again rescued, the retiring-for-sure star was all of those things, even when standing on the podium for the final time.

As the national anthem played, he fought back tears while swaying to a song he has heard so many times. He and his three teammates — Nathan Adrian, Ryan Murphy and Cody Miller — then initially held up a sign that carried no boasting words or record numbers. “Thank you Rio,” it read simply.

“This is a cherry on top of the cake that I wanted,” Phelps said afterward, looking drained but happy.

“He is the greatest of all time, he’s the GOAT, and he’s still so good,” proclaimed teammate Anthony Ervin.

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What an interesting story – Dog Medicine

When abe04e-20160809-dogmedicineJulie Barton was 22, she collapsed alone on her apartment floor in New York City. She was suffering from depression so severe, nothing could bring her out of it: not her parents, not therapists, not psychiatrists.

But then, she writes, she got Bunker — a golden retriever puppy who slowly brought her back into her life.

“There were a lot of different facets of how he renewed me,” she told MPR News host Kerri Miller. “One of the main ways was that he was my constant companion, and I knew I could count on him. I had real issues with trusting people, and with feeling safe around people, and I knew that he would never betray me. I knew that he was devoted to me just as much as I was devoted to him — and having that to count on felt miraculous.”

Barton’s memoir, “Dog Medicine: How My Dog Saved Me From Myself,” explores how Bunker buoyed her, and calmed her mind.

“I was in this trap of really chronic negative thinking, and the only thing that ever pulled me out of it, and helped me notice it, was having this dog by my side,” Barton said. “There might be something about slowing down, sitting and petting him, feeling less in your own head and a little bit more curious about this beautiful, furry creature.”

After being diagnosed with major depression, Barton felt shame — in her head, she added the diagnosis to a list of other things she didn’t like about herself. But with Bunker, she explained, there was no shame.

“My dog didn’t care what this piece of paper said or what medication I had to take. My dog didn’t care about anything other than that moment and that attention and our connection — and that was so freeing,”

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The cat that came back for Christmas – seven years later

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Berlin family overjoyed as Miko returns home after going missing in 2008

A family from the Charlottenburg [neighbourhood] this year experienced a Christmas story with a particularly ‘happy ending’,” a local association for the protection of animals announced on Saturday. “They learned on Christmas day that their cat, Miko, had been found – seven years later,” said the group, which runs a refuge for animals where the cat was identified. Read more…

Rusian Tiger befriends brave goat instead of eating it.

We all play with our food sometimes, but rarely does it become our best friend.

Timur the goat was placed in the cage of a Siberian tiger – also known as an Amur tiger – at Russia’s Primorsky Safari Park as a meal for the striped predator. Instead, the big cat has started hanging out with the goat, reports The Huffington Post. Read more…