Good News Sunday: A reunion with a dog after 3 years, and horse hugs

  • Beau Stevens, 6, of St. Charles gives a huge hug to a horse named Friday.

      Beau Stevens, 6, of St. Charles gives a huge hug to a horse named Friday. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

Updated 12/13/2020 9:21 AM

This is Good News Sunday, a compilation of some of the more upbeat and inspiring stories published by the Daily Herald during the previous week:

Excitement and disbelief overwhelmed Debra Mejeur as she stood outside the DuPage County Animal Shelter, waiting to be reunited with her dog, Lola.


The Kalamazoo, Michigan, resident had been counting down the hours until this moment, unable to sleep since she and her husband, Steve, received an unexpected phone call Thursday that their black Labrador retriever mix had been found safe in Glendale Heights -- three years after she went missing in Elk Grove Village.

"I feel like I'm in a dream right now," Mejeur said. "Mentally, I was mourning her. I had let her go. I still had an ounce of hope, I guess, but the majority of me was thinking she had already crossed the rainbow bridge. I was just completely stunned."

Trained to assist Mejeur as a seizure response dog, Lola was characteristically timid as she emerged from the Wheaton animal shelter wearing a bright red bow and surveyed her surroundings. But the moment she realized the people in front of her were her owners, Lola's hesitation was replaced by exuberance.

"After three years, it's just an unbelievable feeling to be reunited with her, especially since she was lost in another state," Mejeur said. "Knowing that I can bring her home to Michigan is ... just beyond description. I'm so relieved. I'm so excited."

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Who wouldn't smile at chance to hug a horse?

As the warm afternoon sun stretched across a small fenced pasture in St. Charles Township, 6-year-old Beau Stevens stretched out her arms, reached up and gave a giant hug to a horse named Friday who wore a blazing red Santa hat.

Jackie Vrchota and her neighbor Christa Stevens launched Hug a Horse in September to share their love of horses and give people a chance to get out of the house during quarantine and stretch their legs a bit.

For 45 minutes, people have the opportunity to spend time getting to know, groom, pet, ride and, yes, hug some of the horses at Stevens' stable at 6N655 Palomino Drive.


"We start to teach them how to ride and do little commands with them," Stevens said. "We teach them how to walk the horse, stop the horse and then turn the horse. Then they get to ride around and we take a picture with the horse. We try to get at least one big family picture or group picture."

For the full story, click here.

'Christmas Sharing' back as drive-through

Some of Santa's most dependable helpers have brought joy to kids on Christmas morning for more than 40 years.

You could say the Jolly Old Elf has a whole legion of them in Carol Stream, a town that pulls together to ensure families in need can still give their children holiday magic.

Nearly every corner of Carol Stream unites behind the Christmas Sharing gift-giving drive. Police, social workers, elected officials, businesses, students, churches, residents. They all show a spirit of generosity.

But this year, staring down a pandemic, Christmas Sharing organizers made a greater commitment. They wouldn't merely muddle through somehow.

To keep the tradition alive, the annual distribution of new toys and groceries, now in its 43rd year, turned into a drive-through event.

For the full story, click here.

District 103 brings books by bus to pupils

Twice a week, Lincolnshire-Prairie View School District 103 drivers climb into their school buses to begin their routes. It's not children they are picking up. Rather, they are dropping off about 150 library books at students' homes.

Since COVID-19 forced learning to take place at home, District 103 library media specialists developed the idea of bringing books to students.

Drivers place the books next to the front door just like any delivery service does.

Fiction books are most popular among the students who request them.

"The response has been overwhelmingly positive. We have had several books returned with small notes of appreciation from several of our DW parents," said Daniel Wright Junior High Library Media Specialist Tabatha Otto. "It's a complete win-win for our DW parents, students and staff."

For the full story, click here.

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