One military wife's relationship has become a fantasy since the Navy shipped off her husband.
Kingsland, Ga., newlywed Suzy Walker goes out to dinner, movies and shops with a life-size doll that eerily resembles her sailor husband, deployed on the submarine USS West Virginia, according to First Coast News in Jacksonville, Fla.
She gets shot her share of quizzical looks as she dines with the mannequin.
"I think if they knew what I was doing they would probably enjoy it," Walker told First Coast News.
Walker cooked up the idea as a way to get through her first time apart from hubby DB Walker — and fashioned a likeness of him on the doll that friends and family have found jarringly familiar.
"When I put the mustache on him, I couldn't believe the resemblance," Walker told First Coast News. "It's incredible."
Walker's approximately 40-pound substitute hubby cost her $200 and she's dragged it to the gas station to buy lotto tickets, to the movie theater and even to shop at Victoria's Secret.
"I was surfing eBay and I saw a sailor for sale," Walker told First Coast News. "One day he was used for a photo shoot in Washington, and I was the high bidder."
It took quite awhile for the word to get to her husband aboard his submarine, but when DB Walker finally heard the news he said he thought it was hysterical.
"It helps me pass the time while he's gone," Walker told First Coast News. "And knowing that I'm making him a photo album so he really will know where I've been gives me a good feeling."
— Thanks to Out There reader Melissa B.
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — An animal behaviorist says she's figured out what dogs are doing when they make that excited panting noise while playing or anticipating a much-desired walk. They're laughing.
Patricia Simonet, development and program coordinator for Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service, also found that the sound of dog laughter comforts other dogs.
When she played a recording of "play panting" through the speaker system at a shelter in Spokane Valley, all the barking dogs quieted within a minute.
"I wanted to see if I could reduce [the dogs'] stress by playing the sound in the shelter," Simonet said. "I was surprised when they were calm and quiet."
Simonet, who will soon complete a doctorate in animal behavior from Northcentral University in Prescott, Ariz., presented her study on reducing shelter dogs' stress at the International Conference on Environmental Enrichment last summer at Columbia University in New York.
She started researching dog sounds in 2001 at Sierra Nevada College in Lake Tahoe, where she was a professor of animal behavior. After coming to Spokane, she began studying how to make shelter dogs feel more at ease.
Simonet and her students started by recording dogs at play. They eventually isolated the growling, whining, barking and the sound she now calls laughter.
About a year ago, she asked Nancy Hill, director of the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS) if she could use the shelter dogs to determine the impact of dog sounds.
When SCRAPS was closed on Sundays, she would play the tapes for the typically stressed animals.
"This is not home for the dogs," Hill said. "She saw that and wanted to help."
Hill said she was pleasantly surprised with the results. "I've been here for 20 years, and this is the most significant thing I've seen," she said.
Hill is getting estimates to install a sound system that would carry the laughter throughout the SCRAPS kennels. Calming the dogs this way may even make them more presentable for adoption.
— Thanks to Out There reader Bryan D.
MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) — From the opening act to the in-hot-pursuit chase to the grand finale-with-a-twist, the Three Stooges couldn't have choreographed a foiled shoplifting attempt in Medford any better.
It began Thursday when a Fred Meyer's worker spotted a man snatching a $41.99 bottle of Calvin Klein perfume from a shelf, stuffing the bottle down the front of his pants and trying to leave the store, Medford police Lt. Mike Moran said.
Security caught up with the man, identified as John Glandon, 33, of Phoenix, but he fled toward Bear Creek, eventually jumping into the frigid waters.
"It's a little chilly this time of year," Moran said. When Glandon emerged from Bear Creek, he made for some baseball fields -- which just happened to be the training ground for the Medford police department's K-9 units.
Police dogs Tiko and Rudy, along with their handlers, were honing their crime-fighting skills during one of their weekly training sessions at the fields when Glandon allegedly took refuge in some bushes nearby.
The dogs found Glandon almost immediately. He surrendered and was arrested on charges of theft, harassment and a parole violation. Glandon was lodged in the Jackson County Jail without bail, Moran said.
The perfume was never recovered. Moran believes it may still be in Bear Creek.
— Thanks to Out There reader Brent M.
SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) — Shayna Richardson was making her first solo skydiving jump when she had trouble with her parachutes and, while falling at about 50 mph, hit face first in a parking lot.
Although badly hurt, she survived — and doctors treating her injuries discovered she was pregnant. Four surgeries and two months later, Richardson said she and her unborn child are doing fine.
"Just this last week we went and saw the doctor and we've got arms, we've got legs. We've got a full face. The baby is moving around just fine. The heart rate looks good. So not only did God save me but he spared this baby," she said.
Richardson, 21, of Joplin, Mo., was skydiving in Siloam Springs on Oct. 9 when her main parachute failed.
"I heard a snap and I started spinning and I didn't know why. I didn't know what to do to fix it. I didn't know how to make it stop," Richardson told Fort Smith, Ark., television station KFSM.
She cut away her primary chute so her reserve could deploy, but it didn't open all the way. She spun out of control, heading straight for the asphalt below.
"At the end I said, 'I'm going to die. I'm going to hit the ground. I'm going to die,'" she said. "I don't remember it. I don't remember hitting the ground. I don't remember the impact or anything that came with it."
Rescuers got her to a hospital in Fayetteville, where Richardson underwent surgery. She broke her pelvis in two places, broke her leg, lost six teeth and now has 15 steel plates.
"I went into the first surgery where they cut me from ear to ear and they cut my face down and they took out all the fractured egg-shelled bones and put in steel plates," Richardson said.
During treatment, doctors found that Richardson was pregnant, which was a surprise to her. She said she would not have jumped had she known.
"To hit the ground belly first — that's dangerous. I mean at any stage of pregnancy that's dangerous. That's not something you want to do let alone at 50 miles per hour," Richardson said.
Her fall was videotaped and Richardson said she was able to watch it, without qualms.
"I wanted to watch it," Richardson said. "And the whole reason I'm comfortable with watching it [is] because I know how it ends."
Richardson said her due date is June 25. She plans to make her next parachute jump in August.
MILWAUKEE (AP) — A police officer had part of a finger bitten off by a woman after he responded to a call about a dispute over a cat, authorities said.
Lt. Robert Menzel said the 40-year-old woman who called police Sunday afternoon had argued with a man about the animal and wanted him removed from her home.
The officer, a 10-year veteran, tried to restrain the woman, and she became belligerent and bit off part of his right ring finger, Menzel said.
Surgeons at Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital were not able to reattach the finger, the lieutenant said.
— Thanks to Out There reader Tammy G.
MAUSTON, Wis. (AP) — A driver in Mauston, Wis., who thought he hit a coyote or fox still can't believe the victim was actually a 50-pound kangaroo.
Ralph Hamm was driving near Mauston. Hamm said that he saw something jump in the road right before he hit it. The roadkill turned out to be a kangaroo.
Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources has given Hamm permission to keep the animal so Hamm said that he'll get it stuffed so people will believe his story.
No one has claimed ownership of the kangaroo.
In January of this year, a live kangaroo was found in Dodgeville, Wis., and taken to the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison. The marsupial was never claimed and remains on permanent exhibit at the zoo.
— Thanks to Out There readers Sandy C. and Kim B.
NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (AP) — Fourteen senior citizens have decided to bare a little skin, all in the name of fundraising.
Inspired by the 2003 movie "Calendar Girls," members of the Brady Beauties Red Hat Society struck poses for a calendar. While they didn't bare all like the characters in the movie, given a little more time, organizers say they might have.
"I think if we had gone three more days, they would have taken off more clothes," said Bonnie Glo Aubushon, 78. "They were having so much fun."
Proceeds from calendar sales will help establish a library in Brady — estimated population 375 — and for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The town has never had a library, group members said.
The 18-month calendar costs $30, and buyers can note on their checks whether their money should go to the library or to hurricane relief.
The movie "Calendar Girls" tells the true story of a British chapter of the Women's Institute that became an international sensation after members posed nude for a fundraising calendar.
Compiled by FOXNews.com's Andrew Hard.
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