Animal life: If you are on Twitter you know that dog and cat pictures are in ascendency during this endless COVID-19 pandemic. We have seemingly rediscovered the healing power of our pets while we are locked away with them. Simple love. Unconditional.

This week we report on the astounding number of animal adoption applications received over the past month at Oak Park’s Animal Care League. In April of this year there were 158 dog adoption applications and 79 applications for felines. A year ago those numbers were 17 and 18, respectively.

ACL has revolutionized its procedures on the fly with virtual introduction sessions via Zoom and online applications.

Also heartening is the almost unbidden increase in donations to ACL.

Beloved: The Community of Congregations has become one of our most admired local social services. There are many reasons. But here’s one for this deeply challenging moment: On April 30 the CofC came together virtually for a multifaith, multicultural prayer of comfort and memory. At a time when wakes and funerals have been curtailed, there is still abounding grief as we lose people we love to this virus or to other natural but still isolated causes.

Some 60 congregation members joined the Zoom gathering, which featured “the solemn naming of 90 people, each beloved by the gathered, who have passed in this period. Simple and profound connection.

Thankful: There is a lawn full of thanks on the 500 block of Forest Avenue. There the Planek family has festooned their yard with signs of encouragement and hope in the depths of the pandemic. We’ll take our motivation where we can find it.

Here’s a sign to prove it: Seniors at OPRF have not set foot inside the school since mid-March. All the large and small signals of having accomplished graduating from high school have been submerged by this virus. Proper goodbyes to teachers and friends. Last walks down long halls. Quiet moments in the Little Theater or the fieldhouse, even a last look at the soon-to-be leveled cafeteria are stolen.

But on Saturday, 100 OPRF teachers and staff traversed Oak Park and River Forest and planted Huskie grad lawn signs in front of the homes and apartments of 800+ of our kids, declaring them graduates of this public high school. It’s not the prom. It’s not walking across the stage in a cap and gown. But it is something sincere and good. 

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