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When an arsonist turned Alison Hodgson's family's home into a crime scene, the love and antics of a little black pug named Oliver helped them recover. This West Michigan animal lover is also a writer, speaker, humorist and survivor. Her debut book, The Pug List: A Ridiculous Little Dog, a Family Who Lost Everything, and How They All Found Their Way Home, is a heart-warming story about the unexpected ways we all find our way home.

Twenty million Americans took to streets, parks and auditoriums on April 22, 1970, in an effort to ensure our planet's heath and sustainability. The day marked a rare moment of political alignment as Republicans and Democrats stood together in defense of our environment. On April 22, 2016, the 46th year of this important day will be celebrated.

The breathtaking colors of autumn in West Michigan rival any town, anywhere, and lure both residents and visitors outside to bask in their beauty. But one short season later, winter ushers in colder temps that send us scurrying into the cozy cocoon of our homes.

The month of February is devoted to celebrating the many contributions of black Americans throughout our nation's history. West Michiganders can honor these contributions by attending the many educational and celebratory events in our area. There are also online resources that can help you learn more about the significant role these individuals played. We hope you and your family enjoy these events.

When we were young, our parents made us feel safe, confident and protected. Now, it's our turn to reciprocate. Fifty percent of West Michigan Woman readers have questions relating to assisting aging parents. According to FindLaw, "One in four adults is primarily responsible for caring for their elderly parent, and the number is expected to increase in the future."

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