Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month is currently celebrated each year in the month of June to honour the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan, USA.
The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognise the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally.
Not only in June, but throughout the whole year, we celebrate diversity and inclusivity in our workplace, and we aim to make La La Land a safe space for all of our colourful team members.
As part of Pride month, La La Land would like to shed light on our queer community and spotlight Murilo, Milenka and Elie who add so much value to the brand by asking them to share:
What does Pride mean to you?
Murilo - Illustrator & Multimedia Specialist:
"Apart from feeling proud of being unapologetically myself, and embracing who I truly am, Pride to me is acknowledging all the people who have paved the way for the LGBTQI+ community to feel equal in society today. Pride for me, also embodies a strong sense of family, and that's what I have at La La Land. I have never been so respected and celebrated for who I am by any other job I have had in the past, and I'm so happy to have such a colourful, inclusive workplace culture!"
Milenka - Website Coordinator:
"Pride for me means paying respect and gratitude for those who have fought for equality and continue to do so. Pride encompasses our sense of confidence, self-respect, and solidarity as expressed by our LGBTQI+ community. La La Land is an inclusive company, and to work in it is to be a part of a family that is open and loving. There is a realness and equality shared throughout as, our bosses feel like mentors and friends more than hierarchies of power. There is pure acceptance and everyone's differences are celebrated and shared."
Elie - Co-founder & Creative Director:
"Coming out when I was a teenager was the darkest, loneliest, most challenging time of my life. All I wanted was to feel recognised, accepted and loved. Instead I felt guilty, scared, rejected and misunderstood. Those years of struggle have left a life long imprint on my identity. For me, today, Pride is a time for celebration and reflection. To see how far we have come as a society is worth celebrating but to see how much left we have to achieve is worth the continuous fight. Pride for me is also a time to recognise all the people that came before me and paved the glitzy stone path I dance in.
Words by Roland Jakob
As most owners will attest, petting a dog can improve mental health as well as physical wellbeing. In fact, interaction with a dog has been shown to lower blood pressure, improve cardiovascular health, and release endorphins that calm and relax the mind.
Therapy dogs can reduce overall physical pain levels and help minimize anxiety, stress, and depression. They can play an important role in rehabilitation and care. In theory, any breed can be trained as a therapy dog, but in reality, some breeds are better suited to the role.
Although dogs are the most commonly used therapy animal, they aren’t the only pets that can have therapeutic effects on people. Research shows that horses, guinea pigs and even fish in a tank can have soothing and calming effects on people and children who suffer from mental conditions.
Cats are also very popular therapy and emotional support animals. But let’s focus on canines first.
A therapy dog needs to have the following attributes:
- Intelligence – Intelligence not only makes training easier, but it means that a dog will be able to read a situation, determine what’s required, and provide the therapy needed.
- Adaptable – A therapy dog needs to adapt to new situations and new people. Some dogs, especially those used for rehabilitation, will not spend too long with a single person, and all therapy dogs will need to adapt to new locations and situations.
- Trainable – A well-trained therapy dog not only responds to commands, but is trained to behave calmly, provide care where it is needed, and they need to learn to do all of this in loud and difficult circumstances.
- Focused – The therapy dog will need to retain focus throughout its work. These dogs can work in challenging situations and conditions, but they need to be able to perform their duties regardless.
- Calm – One of the purposes of a therapy dog is to calm patients, or to prevent calm people from becoming agitated. They can’t do this or provide therapy if they are not calm themselves.
- Gentle – No matter how friendly and calm a dog is, it also needs to be friendly. Some dogs can weigh nearly as much as a person. If they jump up at their human companions when greeting them, it can lead to accidental injury.
- Clean – Therapeutic environments can include hospitals and nursing homes. The dog should not carry bugs or germs into these environments, so one that is low shedding and doesn’t drool is preferred.
- Comfortable Being Touched – The greatest benefits of using therapy dogs come when patients are allowed to stroke and pet the dog, although their presence alone can have a calming effect. The dog must be happy to be stroked and touched but remain calm.
The Best Therapy Dog Breeds
There are a lot of criteria required when looking for therapy dogs. Fortunately, there are thousands of breeds of dog, and many of them that meet and exceed these criteria. Some of the most commonly and successfully used breeds include the following.
The Labrador is loyal, loving, caring, and affectionate. He is happy and gentle. It’s little wonder that he is the most popular dog breed in the US, and has been for many a year. He makes a great therapy dog because he is also trainable and remains calm.
The Golden Retriever has most of the same traits as the Lab, except that his shedding tends to be more noticeable because of the length of his hair. You should also do research about the differences between male and female Golden Retrievers, as some factors might influence their ability to be good therapy dogs.
The German Shepherd has found use as a guard dog, police dog, search and rescue dog, and even a bomb detection dog. He is clever, dependable, remains incredibly calm, and he can be loving and affectionate, too.
Whether standard or miniature, the Poodle is another clever breed. He also has the advantage of being described as having hypoallergenic hair. Although this isn’t strictly true, he doesn’t shed, which is another reason for his incredible popularity.
The Border Collie isn’t just great working in the fields and tending his flock. He is eager to please his owner and everybody else around him. His attention is unwavering when working at an assigned task and he is considered the most intelligent dog breed – an excellent choice for a therapy dog.
Beagles are not only friendly and easy to train but are often preferred over larger breeds like German Shepherds because they are less intimidating. They do tend to be a bit vocal, but good training can bypass this.
Cavalier King Charles
If you want to be sure that a dog won’t intimidate people, the Cavalier King Charles is sweet and lovable. He also has a very appealing coat and most King Charles have a strong desire to be stroked.
The Corgi meets all of the requirements of the therapy dog, and despite his slightly lazy and laid back look, he is quite spritely and energetic during his younger years. He has a smile on his face most of the time.
The Pomeranian is characterful. He’s also small enough to comfortably sit on most peoples’ laps. He will happily make his way around a room full of people to say hello to everybody.
The Maltese is another lap-sized dog that is begging to be stroked. What’s more, he uses his lap size to his advantage, finding a warm knee upon which to curl up and sleep.
The French Bulldog looks like he’s always smiling, and that’s because he’s virtually always happy. He’s especially happy when he’s with people, so that makes him a great therapy companion.
Pugs are ideal for therapy patients of all ages. They are especially friendly with children, and they’ve got quite a lot of play in them, as well, which further endears them to the younger generation.
The Yorkshire Terrier is another small dog with a big heart. They are smart and lively, and they can be easily trained by an experienced handler. They can also enjoy some lively time when called upon.
Choosing a Therapy Dog
Choosing the right breed is only half the job when it comes to finding the best therapy dog. The individual animal needs to have the right mindset and character, and he needs to be trained well, too. The breeds above are just a sample of some of the breeds that excel in this area. And remember, if dogs aren’t for you, there are various other animals that can qualify as therapy pets!
Love dogs? Check out our Pawesome range!
There are countless gift ideas for Valentine’s Day; however, some of these offerings have a strong environmental impact.
These gifts, accessories, and wraps can sometimes be detrimental to the environment. In fact, according to some, Valentine's Day is one of the less eco-conscious celebrations. It's a bit of messy celebration, with millions of printed cards sent and collected or, in certain instances, tossed straight into the trash. The air-freighted roses, the nylon lingerie set, and cuddly viscose bears sell out around the world. Good thing there are some shops available online that offer sustainable gifts for Valentine's.
Finance advisor, Shane Perry from Max Funding says, “Buy sensibly. It's entirely possible to have Valentine's Day without losing that romantic flair. From eco-friendly products to purchasing an acre of forests for them, you have plenty of choices.”
To help you narrow down the alternatives, below are fantastic gift ideas that preserve relationships and nature.
Buy a Greeting Card But Say “No” to Plastic Sleeves
Most greeting cards are recyclable; however, many brands opt to have them packaged in plastic sleeves which is an unnecessary waste. Try to avoid plastic-wrapped greeting cards when you can opt for cards that come with recyclable envelopes for packaging your greeting cards. Choose to be green, choose eco-friendly greeting cards wrapped in recyclable envelopes.
Also! You can always up-cycle your greeting cards and add some beautiful art within your home!
Our Australian-made, reclaimed wooden frame helps do just that!
Offer Potted Plants
The actual price of a bunch of flowers for Valentine's Day can be very steep. If an Australian greenhouse cultivates roses, the flowers need artificial light and ventilation, resulting in considerable energy consumption and carbon pollution.
Consider the original green gift idea a potted plant can offer if you want to give something sustainable for Valentine's Day. Since there are so many choices, you’ll find a potted plant that suits the giftee’s personality. Alternatively you can make little cuttings and plant them up in fun objects like teacups or old bottles.
Love Seeds Confetti
Save your confetti bombs and resist yourself from buying party poppers ordered from shops. They may be romantic but might also have a significant influence on the environment, plus many contain non degradable glitter. Go after heart-shaped growable eco-confetti. They are cute when scattered over, but once you leave them on the field, they'll sprout into wildflowers, like daisies and dahlias.
Show your loved ones that you truly love them by preparing their lunch as they go to work. Pack their lunch or snacks with reusable eco-bags. This little surprise will remind them to eat more home-packed meals and be healthier, especially when the bag comes in a stunning print and certified sustainable waterproof fabric. With reusable eco-bags, your sweetheart's lunch would never be as cute as ever.
Aside from lunch bags, reusable shopping bags are also women’s must-have!
Gift With A Purpose
The best way to promote sustainability is by buying from shops that have eco-friendly practices.
Consider stores that offer environment-friendly products and services. Choose those that give high value on the common good and not on profits alone.
La La Land values sustainability and we look forward to living in a world that's safer and healthier. You can browse our eco-friendly category to find some great gifts for your love this Valentine's day!
Words by Alexandra Beck