by Nikki Silverstein
Hero: Kentfield couple Laura Talmus and Ace Smith founded Beyond Differences after their daughter Lili died at the age of 15 from complications of a cranial facial syndrome. The nonprofit’s mission is to end social isolation in middle school, which Lili unfortunately experienced. Talmus and Smith partnered with a group of teens from Marin to create an inclusive culture, one in which all teens feel accepted and valued by their peers. Today that group has grown into hundreds of teens across the country. On Friday, Feb. 13, they are sponsoring the second annual No One Eats Alone Day. The one-day event is intended to be a learning experience that will touch middle school kids for the rest of their lives. Visit www.beyonddifferences.org for more information.
Zero: “Cute dog. Boy or girl?” That straightforward question briefly confused a Sausalito family with a newly adopted puppy. They were sure their pup was female, but a long-practicing veterinarian informed them that their dog is male and would need to be neutered. The Southern Marin vet stood his ground when the family asked for clarification. Later, the family’s young daughter asked her neighbor Isa, who has two dogs, if she could determine the pooch’s gender. Isa was certain the dog was sans penis, which was later confirmed by a different vet. We’re so embarrassed for the initial doctor that we won’t identify him, but suggest that he get his eyesight checked immediately. This, my friends, is why you should always seek a second opinion.