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Five stories that will inspire you to reach for YOUR dreams in 2017

This past year might not have exactly been dandy (ok, it really wasn’t), but the good news is that 2017 is underway. And with the new year comes a fresh start, a blank slate, a chance to forget the burning pile of garbage that was 2016.

For example, take a leaf out of this young Aussie legend’s book – he’s blowing up the media world, but not through the usual channels.

Here are some of the most inspiring stories from the Internet to jumpstart life in the new year.

The heartwarming tale of a goat who just wanted to be a duck

A goat in a duck costume

Polly is an adopted baby goat who has some serious anxiety. So serious, in fact, it was only through becoming her dream animal – a duck – that gets her to calm down!

The adorable animal lives at the Goats of Anarchy sanctuary in New Jersey, where she was first diagnosed with blindness, anxiety, and other neurological problems. Lucky for Polly, her caretaker is the organisation’s founder Lauricella.

One day, Lauricella randomly brought home a duck costume and tried it on Polly. What was only supposed to be a silly suit for laughs turned into something else!

“As soon as I put it on her, she just instantly got calm,” Lauricella told The Dodo. “There’s something about that duck costume that calms her. She goes into a little trance. She just closes her eyes and she’s out.”

Now that Polly is getting too big for her duck outfit, she’s found a new way to calm herself: another baby goat called Pocket.

“When Pocket came home, I laid him on [Polly’s] back . . . and it just calmed her right down and she went to sleep,” Lauricella said. “It was almost like that duck costume. I’ve noticed that anytime he’s lying next to her, she just gets calm. I’ve never seen her do that with another goat here.”

Aww! We hope they remain BFFs for life!

The Australian who patented the Hamdog: a hamburger and hotdog combined

A hamburger and hotdog combined

2016 may not have been such a horrible year after all, considering we now have the Hamdog.

For years, Mark Murray from Perth had trouble choosing between a hamburger and a hotdog. So he decided to just have both! The Hamdog consists of a burger split in half, allowing a hotdog to be placed in the middle. It’s topped with lettuce, tomato, cheese, pickles, and mayo, before getting sandwiched by an oddly-shaped bun.

Murray thought of the concept in 2004 and even secured a US patent for the bun in 2009. Last year, he went on the Channel 10 show Shark Tank, but the investors turned him down.

But it’s all good. Now he’s selling the Hamdogs at events and bazaars in Western Australia, and they’re a hit!

“We launched our marquee two months ago and we had people come from everywhere just to experience the Hamdog,” he told News.com.au.

“At one stage the crew were knocking out about one every 15 seconds. It was amazing,” he added.

This persistent lady wearing a panda costume just to photograph pandas

A photographer posing as a panda

How far would you go to get close to a panda?

For photographer Ami Vitale, she spent three years at the Wolong Nature Reserve in China, waiting for the opportune moment to capture the endangered creatures. Oh, and she wore a panda costume too.

The organisation breeds pandas and trains them to survive in the wilderness. All the caretakers there are required to put on a panda suit and mask at all times. This odd practice ensures the pandas don’t get used to human contact, making it easier for them to transition into life in the wild.

“It was often very difficult getting the access needed to make images that were special, but it made it all the more rewarding when I was able to capture those unique moments,” Vitale told The Creators Project.

“[The pandas] will melt your heart. They smell like wet puppies and they make the most incredible sounds. Sometimes they squeak, other times it’s a growl, or a bark or maybe a huff. Their fur is not soft like a bunny but coarse to keep them insulated in those cold, wet climates.”

This Japanese man who spent his life collecting rocks with faces

A collection of face-like rocks

Shozo Hayama from Chichibu, Japan, spent more than 50 years collecting his favourite things: rocks with human faces. His collection became so big, he eventually opened a museum for it.

The museum is called Chinsekikan (or The Hall of Curious Rocks). It houses more than 1,700 oddly-shaped rocks – called jinmenseki­ – which resemble people including pop culture figures like Elvis Presley, E.T., Donkey Kong, and Nemo.

Shozo passed away in 2010, but his legacy lives on through his wife Yoshiko, who curates the museum and even lets visitors give names to some of the unnamed rocks in the collection.

The story of a well-behaved puppy who tried to clean up his own mess

A puppy who tried to clean up his own mess

While most of us want to become astronauts, famous actors, or pro-athletes; a dog from Denton, Texas, just wants to be a good boy.

Three months ago, 21-year-old Acelin Hampton adopted a puppy named Pablo. When Hampton had to leave the pup with a friend, Pablo had a little accident: he peed all over the bathroom floor.

Not to worry though. As it turns out, Pablo cleaned up after himself, grabbing some tissue paper and pulling it over to cover the wet spot. Hampton, upon returning home, found the act impressive and tweeted about it.

“My dog Pablo pissed on the floor and tried to clean it up,” his tweet read. “Really can’t even whoop his ass for this one.”

According to Hampton, the dog must have learned the trick after watching his dad clean up after him. “He does a lot of things that let me know he’s pretty smart,” Hampton added.

If you want to achieve YOUR dreams in 2017, check out our friends at TAFE NSW – the best option for those looking for alternatives to university or to upgrade your existing skill-set. TAFE can help you be whatever you want to be, regardless of how ambitious that dream is.

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