As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to dominate our lives, it can be easy for all news to appear doom and gloom - but there is still good news to be found.
Here are seven uplifting stories from the past week which will make you smile.
Dog is reunited with its owner - 9 months after being stolen
The emotional moment when a Wakefield man was reunited with his pet dog, who had been stolen nine months earlier, was captured on video.
Tayla Smith, from Swindon, bought white Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Molly, when she saw her being sold online. However, it wasn’t until a few months later when the dog hurt her paw, that it was discovered that she was microchipped. Her name was actually Storm, and she had been stolen.
Tayla contacted the microchipping company and the police, and was eventually able to get in touch with Dean Allen, the dog’s original owner.
She said: “When I spoke to Dean, he just crumbled. I have never heard someone sob so much.”
The two arranged to meet and Storm was reunited with her loving owner.
Ovarian cancer treatment breakthrough
In a move which has been hailed as a “major milestone”, thousands of patients in England newly diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer will have access to a drug treatment to delay the progression of the disease.
Under new guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), niraparib will be available to those with stage III and IV ovarian cancer from their first round of treatment.
Previously, this treatment was only available to a smaller pool of patients whose cancer had returned after treatment.
Niraparib is a type of targeted cancer medicine called a PARP inhibitor, which works by stopping cancer cells from repairing themselves. It has also been shown to significantly delay progression of the aggressive cancer.
The new NICE guidelines are expected to be implemented in Wales and Northern Ireland immediately, while a decision is predicted to be made in Scotland later this year.
Fish return to the canals of Venice
On 15 January, Twitter user Helen Kennedy shared the video online, writing: “Remember at the start of the pandemic, when everyone was awed by the return of a few fish to Vince’s suddenly tourist-free, clean canals? 10 months later…”
The video shows the clean water of the canal full of fish.
Runner saves dog from drowning in frozen lake
An incredible video showed Darcy Pell smashing through the ice in Pontefract Park lake, in Yorkshire, and rescuing a dog who appeared to have become stuck after falling through the ice.
Pell manages to get the dog back to the edge of the lake, and return it to its owners.
Passer by, Paula Town, who posted the video online, said: “What a hero, this complete stranger rescued this family’s dog when it got into trouble in Pontefract Park.
“When we got to the lake, I could see a dog in the water, it was trying to get onto the ice but kept falling back in.
“I felt panic-stricken and scoured the side of the lake for a buoy but couldn’t find one. Luckily that guy came along, he lowered himself into the water and the rest is on the video.”
Results of new MS vaccine trials are ‘encouraging’
Researchers have been testing a new treatment for mice with a multiple sclerosis (MS)-like condition, and results have been described as “encouraging”.
The MS Trust said: “In MS, the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the myelin. The aim of this study was to induce the immune system to tolerate myelin, rather than attack it.
“The researchers found that when the mRNA was injected into mice with MS-like disease, the mice developed less severe disease than would normally occur.”
The research uses similar technology to that of two Covid-19 vaccines - the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and the Moderna vaccine - but in a different way.
“Instead of using a vaccine to prime the immune system to recognise and fight off infection, this approach uses the vaccine to teach the system to tolerate (or ignore) myelin,” the MS Trust explained.
While the treatment and the technology is still new, it is described as “encouraging” and that it “shows potential”.
Leeds teens praised for spending 12 hours helping motorists stuck in snow
A pair of teenagers in Leeds have been praised by their community after spending more than 12 hours helping out residents who had become stuck in the snow.
The two were spotted by Jess, who posted on social media about the boys: “This lad is about 15 and he’s been out since 9 this morning helping everyone that’s stuck with a spade, with a girl with blue wellies on.
“I see teenagers getting a lot of judgement these days but this lad is one of many I’ve seen today helping people.
“A big well done if anyone knows him, not the best picture on Winrose Drive but he’s still there now, he’s soaking wet through getting an ambulance up, what a lovely lad.”
On the same day, a kind hearted woman was seen giving out soup to stranded drivers in Rodley, as the roads were blocked by snow.
Twitter user @Dwarfland25 captured the image, posting on social media: “There’s an old lass giving out soup to drivers stranded on the ring road at Rodley. Gridlock in all directions, definitely a day to #StayAtHome today.”
New pill bottle technology for Parkinson's patients designed after TikTok collaboration
After a Parkinson’s patient posted a video on TikTok about how difficult the packaging his medication comes in is to use, a new pill bottle has been designed. A fellow TikTok user by the name of Brain Alldridge saw the original video, and felt that there had to be a better way.
He learned to use Fusion 360, a 3D modelling tool, and in a few days had designed a pill container that would be easier for people with Parkinson’s to use.
The new container is cylindrical, with a twisting bottom grip that users turn to retrieve a pill.
However, Allrdige didn’t have a 3D printer. When he asked for help, many other users of the social media app got involved in refining the design and 3D printing it. A final version was sent to the poster of the original video for feedback.
The original designer is dedicated to keeping the product open source, free and cheap, so that anyone who needs one can get one.
He reportedly has a patent attorney to ensure this, and the patent itself will be donated to the Michael J Fox Foundation.