This week's best feel-good stories: From a hero dog and lifesaving teacher to kids solving homelessness

Three photos show an elephant, kids at a drawing table, and a dog.
Fareed Khan/AP, Limestone Community School, Walton County Sheriff’s Office
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If you’re sick of hearing about former President Donald Trump’s arraignment, read on, because although it’s been a busy week in the hard-news world, there have been plenty of warm and fuzzy feel-good stories too. Here are some of the best this week from Yahoo News partners.

International team of veterinarians save sick elephant at Pakistani zoo

Veterinarians at a zoo use a crane to lift an elephant for a medical exam as a crowd watches.
Vets from the animal welfare group Four Paws lift an elephant named Noor Jehan to conduct a medical exam at Karachi Zoo in Karachi, Pakistan, on Wednesday. (Fareed Khan/AP)

A team of veterinarians from the Austrian animal welfare organization Four Paws said they performed a lifesaving procedure on a sick elephant at a zoo in Pakistan on Wednesday, Yahoo News partner the Associated Press reported.

The 17-year-old elephant, named Noor Jehan, was cared for by an eight-member team that included veterinarians from Egypt and Bulgaria and an elephant husbandry expert from Germany, who performed a complex procedure with the help of a crane and a fire truck. They discovered that Noor Jehan had a large hematoma in her abdomen and a damaged pelvic floor, which had been the main causes of her “pain and physical distress,” according to Four Paws.

“The good news is that there is treatment for this, but it requires a lot of work and some luck in the coming days,” said Dr. Amir Khalil, who led the team. “However, Noor Jehan is still young, and she deserves to live another 20 or 30 years.”

Khalil said authorities have agreed to relocate Noor Jehan and her fellow elephant Madhubala to more appropriate living conditions. The elephants have been at Karachi Zoo since being captured in the wild and brought to Pakistan together in 2009.

“We welcome the commitment of the local zoo officials and authorities to finally relocate both elephants, after Four Paws has recommended this action in favor of the elephants’ well-being already last year,” Josef Pfabigan, global CEO of Four Paws, said. “We would have wished for this measure to be implemented sooner to spare Noor Jehan her recent suffering but are glad that she still has a chance at a better life.”

Four Paws says that “species-appropriate living conditions for elephants include big open spaces with natural surroundings and a soft ground where the animals can move around. Elephants enjoy taking mud baths, for this they need sand and water to engage with.”

Teacher saves 100-year-old woman from choking

Ryan Roberts, a ceramics teacher at ‘Iolani School in Honolulu, smiles for the camera in his studio with sons Asher, 10, and Owen, 13.
Ryan Roberts, a ceramics teacher at ‘Iolani School in Honolulu, in his studio with sons Asher, 10, and Owen, 13. (Ryan Roberts)

A teacher in Honolulu is being hailed as a Good Samaritan after saving the life of a 100-year-old woman he saw choking on a cough drop in the road, Yahoo News partner Fox News reported.

Ryan Roberts, a 45-year-old ceramics teacher, was on his way home from work with his two sons last Wednesday when he noticed that a car in the left lane was stopped, with the passenger door open. He pulled over and saw a woman who was struggling to breathe.

“It turned out to be a daughter trying to help her mother who was choking,” Roberts said. “The daughter was kind of frantic and the mother wasn’t doing too well at that point. She was gasping, starting to pass out.”

He quickly administered the Heimlich maneuver, and after the third attempt “she coughed quite a bit, some stuff came out and then she started crying.”

“I said, ‘Hey, if you’re crying, you’re breathing, so stop crying and just concentrate on breathing. You’re OK,’” Roberts said.

After making sure the woman was all right, he “ducked out and left” without giving his name once emergency services arrived, but a school logo on Roberts’s shirt enabled Dr. James Ireland, director of the Honolulu Emergency Services Department, where the woman was treated, to track him down the next day.

“He didn’t need any recognition,” Ireland said. “He just made sure she was OK, thanked the rescuers who came and off he went. Not seeking the limelight, not seeking any accolades. But he sure deserves them.”

Ireland said the city plans to recognize Roberts with a certificate honoring him as a Good Samaritan.

Dog hailed as hero for alerting family to fire

A large white dog looks on as two firefighters walk past their fire engine, which is parked on a lawn, after putting out a fire.
Walton County Sheriff’s Office

Local authorities in Florida are crediting a family pet for potentially saving its owners’ home from a fire, Yahoo News partner the Miami Herald reported.

Just before noon on Tuesday, officials received a 911 call from a teenager in Westville, Fla., who said he was home alone when he heard his dog barking.

“When he looked outside to see what the dog was barking at, he saw flames coming from a barn housing several fowl,” the Walton County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

The fire is believed to have been caused by electrical issues inside the barn. It took over 30 minutes for firefighters to control the blaze, and they were able to prevent it from spreading to other structures.

“Sadly, this family lost several animals in the fire,” Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson said.

“However, if it weren’t for the dog’s guardian instincts and the son’s quick action, this situation could have ended much worse.”

Kansas children design homes to help solve homelessness

Several children gathered around a drawing table.
Limestone Community School

A group of first and second graders at Limestone Community School, a small elementary school in Lawrence, Kan., is designing homes to help solve their city’s homelessness problem, Yahoo News partner USA Today reported.

The idea came about when students started brainstorming around the simple question “What if?” with one student suggesting, “What if everyone had parents and a home?”

The students intend to have four homes built with the help of partners and hope to raise $120,000 for building materials, with construction possibly starting as soon as late April, according to Madeline Herrera, a teacher at the school.

“We have multiple organizations that have offered us to be able to build on their land, and then they would manage the properties, which is an absolute dream for us,” Herrera said.

Steve Vukelich, vice president of collaborative design company Multistudio, is helping students design the homes, and he said there initially was a bit of a learning curve.

“We quickly learned the concept of scale is really difficult for first and second graders to grasp; the kids dream really big,” Vukelich said.

One of the homes is likely to be built for one of Limestone Community School’s kindergarten teachers, Sarauniya Pelts.

“It means so much because they want to show they care for their community, and my family was included in that,” Pelts said.