3 Good Things: ER dogs, trans-friendly IDs and free child care

Karlotta Freier / For The Times


number one

Working dogs

A short visit from a therapy dog can reduce pain in that most excruciating of settings: the emergency room. Researchers found that “touching and communicating with a friendly and cooperative dog” led more than half of the test subjects in ERs to perceive less pain, maybe because dogs interrupt the long wait times that tend to make people feel worse. Dogs should be making the rounds not just in hospitals but also at the DMV, at the airport, at the post office — really, anywhere that’s predictably painful.


number two

X marks progress

As of this month, Americans no longer have to choose between “male” and “female” on their passport applications. The Biden administration has introduced a gender-neutral option, X, that all U.S. citizens can select as their gender marker. The marker chosen doesn’t need to match other documentation, like old passports. Transgender and nonbinary Americans have to deal with far too many obstacles. The passport office will no longer be one.

number three

Just what they needed

A nonprofit in Montgomery County, Pa., just outside Philadelphia, provides free in-home child care for single mothers who work nights and weekends. “This makes the difference between people staying in poverty or getting out of poverty,” said the executive director of the group, Along the Way. It was founded by two members of a local church to expand their ministry into the broader community. Now they hope to secure more funding — and make a difference in more families’ lives.


And one more ...

There’s a handy trick to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit (approximately) without any fancy calculations, if you just remember three numbers: 04, 16, 28. Each temperature in Celsius can be flipped to give you the temperature in Fahrenheit: 40, 61, 82. It sounds too good to be true, but it works!