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Cheerful Connections: Day staff looks back at uplifting stories we wrote during a grim time

Upbeat pandemic stories sounds like an oxymoron, but hear us out.

Since March 2020, as we began covering the grim realities of the coronavirus pandemic, Day staffers have also found stories that made us smile.

Reporter Claire Bessette and photographer Sarah Gordon went to a New London nursing home to report on a gentle giant of a therapy dog named Duke, his big-hearted owner, Elizabeth "Tiger" Maynard-White, and grateful residents at Harbor Village Rehabilitation and Nursing. Gordon captured heartwarming photos of Maynard-White and Duke greeting residents outside their windows.

"It was a very fun, touching story, especially when the residents put their hands on the window and Duke put his nose to the window," Bessette said.

Reporter Taylor Hartz and photographer Dana Jensen went to the home of Carol Conklin and Janet Peck of Colchester, who found comfort singing old songs like "This Land Is Your Land," "You Are My Sunshine" and "Que Sera Sera" in the Shared Voice virtual choir for people with early-onset Alzheimer's.  

"Looking back on it, and in the moment, it was one of the few bright spots of a really dark time," Hartz said. "I was covering a lot of press conferences focused on the death toll of the virus and of people who were sick or had sick loved ones. This was the story of a couple who were making the best of a really difficult situation. For a couple of hours every week or every month they were really very happy."

We like good news as much as you, and as we mark the one anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic's arrival in our region with new stories that look back and ahead, we'll be sharing some of our uplifting reporting from the previous year on our Facebook, (www.facebook.com/theday.ct) Twitter (@thedayct) and Instagram (instagram.com/thedayct/) accounts.

See you online.

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