A nonprofit has helped a U.S. Marine from Bonita Springs, Florida reunite with a three-legged stray dog who he met while on duty in the country of Georgia. The Marine felt compelled to help the dog as soon as he laid eyes on him.
“A bone was sticking out of its foot. It couldn’t use it. It was leaving a blood trail everywhere,” Marine Billy Norris said. Despite being forced to leave the dog behind, Norris had fond memories of him.
“That night, I couldn’t stop thinking about this dog,” he said. “I woke up and told my gunnery sergeant, ‘We’re going back tomorrow and getting this dog.'” Within five minutes of arriving back in Gori, the team found the dog.
“We go back to the same place, figuring the dog couldn’t get very far dragging its feet around,” he said. “It was injured bad and starving but didn’t want to be touched. I had a 50-50 bet it would bite me.”
After luring the hound with some beef jerky, Norris picked it up and took it with him back to the capital, Tbilisi. After taking the dog to a vet, it was confirmed that it would need one of its front legs amputated.
“He went from looking friggin’ rough when we found him, like a skeleton,” Norris said. “Then he started eating, and he transformed into this happy dog. I was like, ‘I wonder if I could take this thing home?'”
“A vet tech kept asking what his name was, and I kept saying, ‘I don’t know, it doesn’t have one,'” he said. “The vet tech kept saying it was a very lucky dog, so I said, ‘That’s it.'”
Norris was determined to bring Lucky back with him to Florida and stumbled across an online fundraising website. Eventually, Lucky was able to be transported from Georgia to Florida and into Norris’s arms.
“It’s been a long process, but now he’s an American,” Norris said. “I’m so happy he’s here. Lucky made it.”
35+ People Who Accomplished Big Things in Life and Now “Happiness” Is Their Middle Name
The people on this list made special accomplishments — some big, some small, some every day, some once in a lifetime — that made them feel like “happiness” was their middle name.
One Small Step
Learning to walk again after an injury or illness is much more difficult than learning the first time. When you’re walking, you’re walking — you don’t notice. However, post brain injury, you need to learn how to bear weight, keep balance and move muscles that might not have been used in months. No wonder this person looks pleased.
Reunited at Last
Divorce and separation are difficult for all sorts of reasons, but especially when children are involved. The end of a relationship when you share children means that someone will inevitably lose time with their kids. When you’re used to seeing them every day, that can be absolutely devastating.
This father didn’t see his daughter for two years because of an unpleasant custody situation. In this picture of their reunion, you can see how happy they are to finally be together again.
The Inventor’s Journey
It must be a tough life to be a toy inventor. Sure, it all sounds like fun and games, but you need someone to actually purchase and distribute your invention, otherwise, what’s the point? Pictured here is someone’s dad who managed to get his newly invented toy into a store.
From what we can tell, this toy — the Djubi Slingball Classic — is also available to purchase online. It looks like all that inventing paid off!
First Day of School
We’ve seen a couple that wasn’t afraid to get married in their later years, and now we have someone that didn’t let age get in the way either. This person’s mom has always wanted to go to college and eventually decided to take the plunge when she was 65.
Truth be told, it’s a good idea to study during retirement, and nobody should be discouraged because of their age. Every day is a school day, so why not actually go to school?
Meet Mr. Muscle
Lots of people struggle with body image issues, especially as a result of bullying in childhood or during school. For some people, one way of countering this is to prove the bullies wrong – to create a revenge body of sorts. That’s what this pleased person has done, and they’re feeling pretty great about it.
Having dealt with insecurities about their size and weight for their whole life, this person has now gained some muscle. We bet they feel pretty strong.
Taking the First Step
We’ve seen the miracle of prosthetics in action on this list already, but does it really get old? We don’t think so. This person suffered a life-threatening car accident and used a wheelchair following the incident.
In this picture, we can see them standing up and walking for the first time, all thanks to the use of new technologies. It’s truly amazing that new scientific and technological discoveries can change people’s lives in such a radical way.
Finally Finding Someone Else
To be totally candid with you, this snap actually brought a tear to our eye. In this amazing image, we see two survivors of the Holocaust. Obviously, these men’s histories are deeply traumatic, but in this picture, they’re smiling because they feel understood and connected to each other.
At least one of these men had never met anyone else with the same tattoo as them. By meeting this man, he gains some sense of shared understanding.
The Miracle of Life
Let’s start our list of happy people who accomplished big things in life with this adorable pair. These two had an extremely small chance of getting pregnant, and yet here they are with a sonogram of their baby.
Any couple that has faced fertility struggles knows the immense relief and gratitude that comes with finding out you’re expecting. We’re sure these two will lose out on a lot of sleep when they welcome their little one into the world, but it looks like they’re ready.
Get the Welcome Banner!
We love this joyful picture of someone’s father coming home from the hospital. Far from being wheeled back into his residence with a glum expression, this man is lifting his oxygen tank in sheer celebration. This dad’s face is beaming with pure happiness, and we’re sure his good mood radiated to everyone else around him.
Dealing with illness is one of the worst things that can happen to somebody, so it’s great when everyone can share in moments of happiness.
Does it Get Better Than This?
Alright folks, take a good look at what true happiness looks like. This adorable little two-year-old is having the time of his life in this capsule game. From what we can tell, this looks like one of those chambers kids can go into at Chuck E. Cheese.
Once the kid is in, and the chamber is sealed, loads of toys and candies swirl around. The kid can then keep whatever they hold onto. It looks like this little one is enjoying some bubbles. So cute!
Feeling on Top of the World
Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano in Tanzania. The massive mountain is the highest one in Africa, and the highest free-standing mountain in the world. Take that Everest! Mount Kilimanjaro measures almost 20,000 feet above sea level, and 16,000 feet above its base.
With all this in mind, it’s no wonder this climber has eyes that are full of happiness. We can’t see much of them, but we can tell that they’re glad the seven-hour hike is finally over. Now, for the descent!
Senior, Meet Junior
We love a multigenerational photograph, and this one really doesn’t disappoint. This person’s grandfather was a prisoner of war during World War II and is pictured here with his great-grandchild — who shares his name. This picture is full of tenderness, connection, and love, even if it’s expressed slightly differently by each person.
Passing on a name is a moving way to commemorate other members of the family. It’s even better that these two got to spend some time together.
Bells of Joy
In many hospitals around the world, cancer survivors ring a bell to signal the end of their chemotherapy or radiation treatments. Ringing the bell is a symbol of happiness and celebration, and is supposed to help release the stressful feelings a person might have been locking up inside.
This snap shows someone’s mom ringing the bell to celebrate the end of her year-long chemo course. Considering the nausea, exhaustion, and loss of appetite this woman may have experienced, we’re not surprised she looks happy it’s over.
You Can Call Me ‘Boss’
As far as we’re concerned, accomplishments are accomplishments no matter the size. While some people on this list survived cancer, and others experienced business successes, this person won a fantasy football competition.
But, context matters, and we’re certainly not here to take away from this person’s win. Just look at their beautiful and beaming smile! Yes, this picture shows someone that’s achieved a higher level of satisfaction, and we only want to encourage it. Woohoo!
She Said Yes!
For some people, no amount of engagements is enough. No matter how many times these people watch couples getting engaged, they tear up every time. They love the anticipation, the moment of realization, the eruption of happiness.
And really, can you blame them? There are worse things in the world than watching people agree to spend their lives together. In this amazing snap, someone captures this woman’s surprised expression when her partner pops the question. So sweet!
Can’t Hold Me Down
There’s a lot going on in this picture, but beneath the bruises and cut lip, there’s absolutely a happy smile there. This person decided to take up mixed martial arts and trained with the USA Mixed Martial Arts Federation.
This is the end result of her first-ever fight, where she gladly walked away a winner. Well, maybe she hobbled away. We don’t totally get why this person is also hoisting her cat alongside her certificate, but hey, why not?
Getting to Know Snow
Raising a child is amazing, partly because children are so enthused by everything. “Look! A sheep!” “Over there! A bicycle!” “Hey! Check out this random tub of beads!” When you have someone that’s just learning what it means to be in the world, you can constantly surprise them with new things.
This amazing picture shows a child enjoying his first experience of snow. All bundled up in a cozy teddy onesie, he has decided to lie down and enjoy the falling snowflakes.
When You Strike Gold
This high-quality pic comes from a wedding photographer who decided to take a candid snap of this wedding guest. As well as photographing the bride dancing with her father, this photographer turned their camera around and captured this perfect picture of the bride’s brother filming.
Clearly, this was an emotionally charged moment, and one that looks absolutely incredible on camera. It looks like this doting brother is happy his sister has found love. We’re not crying… you are!
When the Wait Is Over
The person in this picture has just woken up from undergoing an absolutely huge surgery — a double-lung heart transplant. This type of surgery can take up to 12 hours, and involves vital organs being removed and then replaced with donor organs. It’s intense, it’s high-stakes, and it’s really, really scary.
This husband must be feeling total relief and gratitude as he kisses his wife on the head. Getting through something like this is certainly cause for a happy face.
Make Yourself at Home
Having a baby is really stressful, even if everything goes well. You have to prepare your home, you need to take care of yourself and the baby, and you’re in constant fear that something will go wrong.
When newborn babies have issues — no matter how small — this adds much more stress into an already stressful situation. This little one was in intensive care for the first two weeks of his life, but in this picture, he’s finally home.
Follow Your Own Path
In life, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. You wake up at the same time, you eat the same things, you go to work each day. On the weekends, you do the same few things and you see the same few people. Life is predictable, and sometimes, quite boring.
But, as we can learn from this picture, it’s never too late to stop, look, and change direction. If you want to jump out of a plane too, just do it!
Waiting for the Big Walk
Historically, brides were walked down the aisle and given away because marriage was basically a business transaction. We know that’s not very romantic, but alas, it’s the truth. In the centuries since that tradition began, we’ve adapted things a little, so that walking someone down the aisle is an honor and a privilege.
In this picture, two adorably dressed long-haired sons wait to walk their mom down the aisle. We bet it made everyone involved feel amazing.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
We can’t help but feel happy when we look at this picture — it’s as though Victor’s smiling face is contagious. Victor, pictured here, is the pizza chef at a college where he works tirelessly to make pizzas that look pretty great to us.
This college cook must make good food because the school decided to put his likeness on the eatery’s sign. From where we’re standing, Victor deserves everything in the world. This sign is just the start.
The Happiest Little Face
It just seems criminal that any child should have to face cancer. Obviously, nobody should have to face cancer, but the idea that tiny little bodies have to go through something so difficult just seems terrible.
We can’t even imagine the strain and stress involved in caring for a child that’s facing cancer, never mind how the child must feel. Anyway, all of these feelings begin to melt away when we look at this little face that’s brimming with happiness.
Our Fairytale Ending
For those of us that spend lots of time on social media, you could view these pictures as one of those “how it started,” “how it ended” memes. On the left, we have a man that’s undergone some sort of serious injury, that has a long road of recovery ahead of him.
Beside him is his partner, and we’d quite like to believe that they met in the hospital. On the right, we see the couple tying the knot, grateful for making it through the tough times.
Counting Down the Days
The miracle of life is a beautiful thing, and many people marvel at it when they have children. However, not many people get to experience what it’s like to adopt a child. Couples that decide to adopt have to go through a difficult process.
They’re interviewed, they’re inspected, and they continue these activities long after the child arrives. This picture captures a calm moment where a set of new parents admire their adopted daughter after five years of fertility issues.
She Made It
Epilepsy is a condition that affects the brain, causing seizures. Women with epilepsy can have different reactions to pregnancy. For some, seizures worsen. For others, they stay the same. And for many, they decrease. However, the fact that this is unpredictable is also pretty stressful, too.
Add sleep deprivation to the mix, and you’ve got yourself a potentially risky pregnancy. Thankfully all went well for this epileptic mom and her newborn daughter. Just look at that baby’s face!
Age Is Just a Number
In some cultures or social environments, it can be seen as déclassé to get married multiple times, or to get married when you’re older. Apparently, when women reach a certain age, they’re just supposed to wither up and die or crawl off into a corner somewhere so that they don’t bother anyone.
Clearly, that wasn’t the case for this person, whose happiness is radiating out of this image. This happy couple got hitched in their later years, and they look pretty pleased about it.
Looking Out for Yourself
Here’s another sort of “how it started,” “how it ended” post, with someone’s father’s journey to be more active. It’s nice that this person has framed their parent’s new lifestyle as “taking care of himself,” rather than as a harsh diet or exercise regime. Too often, we assume that losing weight leads to overall happiness, which simply isn’t true.
Rather, this person’s happiness comes from the fact that they’ve spent time and energy caring for themselves. Health comes in every size!
Achieving the Impossible
This incredible snap shows two family members doing something that previously seemed impossible to them. This father was almost paralyzed and spent a year recovering from whatever traumatic event he went through.
At the end of that journey — which surely featured months of physiotherapy and family support — he could hold his grown daughter on his shoulders. What a feat! You just need to look at the joyful expressions on this pair’s faces to see what true happiness looks like.
26 Long Miles Later
Running a marathon is no mean feat. Seriously, it’s 26 miles on your feet — that leads to some serious blisters. However, there are plenty of upsides to training for and participating in a marathon. Of course, it’s a huge personal challenge, but it’s also an amazing communal experience. It’s great to hear people cheering you on!
Plus, running a marathon releases a huge amount of endorphins (or “happy hormones”), leading to a serious exercise high. This person’s girlfriend is clearly delighted.
Eight Times a Charm
Personally, we’d like to see a miniseries devoted entirely to this baby that’s dressed like a superhero. This absolutely adorable munchkin managed to endure eight courses of chemotherapy, which is more than most people have to undergo in their entire lives.
As well as this awesome Superman outfit, we hope this kid also has a Queen outfit — complete with a crown, scepter, and throne. Come to think of it, this amazing little girl should just have everything.
Breathe in the Beach Air
Living with a disability or a chronic illness is difficult in multiple ways. As well as living with symptoms and pain, people with disabilities are often limited in their movements and activities because of poor access.
A lack of ramps, bathrooms, and other facilities means that portions of society often end up excluded, and it’s not OK. Amazingly, in this picture we see a woman who hasn’t been to a beach in many years stare out over the ocean.
Finally Feeling Happiness
This is a moving set of pictures that shows happiness all over, rather than just in a smile. This person feared accepting their true identity for many years but eventually decided to transition. This process can occur in lots of ways and doesn’t just refer to surgery or wearing different clothing.
Overall, this person is now the happiest they’ve ever been and can face their future knowing they’re now expressing their true self. Don’t mind us, we’re not crying…
It’s Mine, All Mine
When you have a child, you spend years making sure that they’re safe, well-fed, educated, and loved. When you have two children, you spend more time doing that, partly because you have to start some of it all over again. When you have four children, you could spend years making pack lunches, washing gym kits, and helping with homework.
This mom of four spent 16 years raising her kids and has eventually regained her home while her youngest goes to kindergarten during the day.
Skip Homework, Hang With Grammy
Grandparents are the best, and people that have theirs around are extremely lucky. Grandparents are like parents but nicer, and they hold all of the secrets to why your family is the way it is. Grandparents make delicious snacks and have welcoming homes. They smell familiar and they tell old stories. Seriously — go and spend time with your grandparents.
We love this picture because you can see how much everyone is truly beaming with happiness. Who would choose homework over grandparents?
Birthday Wishes From Buckingham Palace
Did you know that people who live in one of Queen Elizabeth’s realms or in UK overseas territories receive a card from the Queen for their 100th birthday? In fact, people who turn 100, 105, and then every year after receive a birthday card from Her Majesty in the mail.
This is also true for couples celebrating their 60th, 65th, and 70th wedding anniversaries. In this heartwarming picture, we see somebody’s amazing 107-year-old grandmother with her letter from the Queen.
Knocking it Out of the Park
Getting into certain fields can be difficult. You might need advanced degrees, you might need contacts, or you could be expected to work for free. Job searches aren’t easy, and the process can really take it out of you.
In this picture, we see someone grinning because they’re on their first day at their dream job. Sports writing can be competitive, so it’s great that this young journalist has managed to snap up their ideal role. Congrats!
Centurion Themed Celebrations
We’ve seen several happy couples so far, but this pair is positively glowing with happiness. Well, more specifically, they’re cackling with laughter. From what we can gather from this rather busy image, a man dressed as a Roman centurion is playing the tuba right into the faces of a bride and groom.
More than that, he appears to be wearing mirrored sunglasses. Truly who knows what was going on when this moment was captured on film, but we’re glad everyone was having such a great time.
You Got There Eventually
We’ve seen the relieved and euphoric face of someone who completed a marathon, but can you imagine the face of someone who had to drop out at mile 25? Naturally, many runners get injuries while participating in a marathon. These people have no choice but to stop because their ankles, knees, or feet can’t go on any further.
This person had to drop out of the Boston Marathon at mile 25 and is pictured here after qualifying again. There’s nothing like a second try!
This 53-year-old defied all odds when she performed in a production of Mamma Mia just 10 months after her heart surgery. To top it off, the show was a mega success and was sold-out during its four-week running.
Stories like this make us realize how strong the human spirit is and that we can always bounce back after facing adversity. Let’s give it up for this ‘dancing queen’ who showed us all how it’s done!
A Dream Come True
We’re all dreamers to some extent and what we dream about differs for us all. We should all be able to have our shot at doing what we’re most passionate about but oftentimes, life gets in the way and prevents that. We need to remind ourselves that there’s no linear graph to get to where we want to be.
It can happen, however, even when we’ve given up almost all hope. This smiley bar owner is a perfect example of what we’re talking about. Cheers to his dream!
The Late Bloomer
This stay-at-home mom discovered her passion for interior design in her late 40’s and managed to win a national TV design show challenge. From that success, others snowballed and today, she’s a radio contributor, a magazine writer, and designer.
At age 60, this mother is most definitely not slowing down and proves to us all that age is not a defining factor when it comes to personal success.
While writing is a creative process we often take for granted, we need to remember that it’s a type of freedom not everyone is entitled to. This 47-year-old novelist was never allowed to follow her passion of becoming a writer back in her home country of Vietnam due to the overbearing governmental restrictions.
However, she never gave up her dream, and when the right time came later on in life, she was able to write and publish her first book. Now, that’s powerful.
A Kind Human
This next woman’s post put it all in perspective for us because it wasn’t some success story about her achieving anything particularly big. Instead, this 47-year-old decided to stop her life to visit a foreign country and volunteer as a wildlife refuge.
She had the realization that life doesn’t need to be this collection of competitive accolades, but rather an assortment of beautiful memories. Just look at how happy and at peace she is!
The Happiest Bus Driver
The man you see in this image is literally the happiest bus driver in the whole of London — he was, in fact, given the award to prove it. How’s that for a sweet title?
What you won’t be able to deduce from his happy face is that for 20 years prior to his bus driving job, he was homeless and in a bad economic situation. This man’s story shows us how happiness can be felt even after the darkest of times.
The Wedding Couple Champions
Trying to lose a large amount of weight is no easy task but doing it alongside your partner and best friend provides a new kind of motivation. This couple decided to do exactly that after getting engaged so that come their wedding day, they could look and feel their absolute best.
The before and after photos depicted here show the couple’s unbelievable transformation. Let’s give it up for this powerhouse duo.
The KFC Man
When any of us see that famous image of the KFC man with his distinctive white hair and glasses, our knee-jerk reaction is to think about the taste of that delicious fried chicken. However, the backstory about this man, a.k.a. Colonel Sanders, is quite the remarkable one.
The inventor behind the most famous fried chicken in the world would spend his days cooking in the kitchen, feeding customers, and sleeping in his car. How things can change in time!
Dad the Professor
There’s nothing more remarkable than seeing a child’s pride in their parent. Such was the case in this Snapchat here, taken by the daughter of a 66-year-old man on his graduation day.
We can pretty much feel her excitement for him from the picture alone. To all the parents out there who continue to chase their passions and pave the way for their kids, it does not go unnoticed.
The Artistic Matriarch
A woman that raises nine children is deserving of everything and anything her heart desires. Motherhood alone is one of the hardest jobs and often is not given the recognition it deserves. This selfless woman mentioned below decided to start painting after her job of raising her little kids was over.
She perfected the craft to the point that her home now is like an art gallery and her aim is to create pieces for her family to keep for generations to come. What a saint!
Some Well-Deserved Recognition
It’s always nice to be recognized, for things big or small. This smiling entrepreneur ended up in the pages of his local newspaper when his eatery won the “Best French Fries” award in their town. Honestly, out of all the awards you could win, that’s a pretty great one to take home.
As well as ending up in the newspaper, this man got a bit of free advertising out of this award. No doubt he was cooking fries for months afterward.
All These Years Later
This adorable and well-dressed couple isn’t exactly beaming with happiness in this picture, but you can tell that they’re happy in a relieved sort of way. In this snap, we see someone’s grandfather receive the World War II medals he was awarded while doing military fleet service.
Considering the second World War ended in 1945, this poor gentleman has been waiting an awfully long time. Thankfully, this pair can now enjoy the medals, and show them to their kids and grandkids.
Heart Boosting Snuggles
Human beings are amazing things, and our bodies are full of ways that we can care for and nurture each other. This smiling father is doing skin-to-skin care (SSC) with his premature daughter, which is also known as kangaroo care.
Incredibly, holding a baby to your skin is proven to help their heart and brain function. Skin-to-skin contact should be given for an uninterrupted 60 minutes, and continued into the first three months of life. Too cute.
Meet Your New Brother
We’ve already mentioned that the process for adopting a child is long-winded and stressful, and of course it often involves travel too. This wonderful snap shows a couple returning home with their new adoptive son, and their eldest child greeting them at the airport.
Clearly, there are smiles all around as she runs towards them to meet her new little brother. There’s happiness coming from all corners of this image – it’s almost too much to take!
His Heart Beats On
In this picture, we can see a woman who’s lost her son, but can still listen to his heartbeat. You see, this lady’s son passed away and donated his organs.
His heart ended up saving this girl’s life, so a little piece of him is still alive and well. We can’t imagine the complex emotions that must be going on here, but we know we see happiness.