8-year-old Bryson Kliemann collects Pokémon cardssince his father introduced him to collectable cards at the age of 4. He has hundreds of them in his collection, stored in filing cabinets and key boxes. Every Christmas, birthday or holiday, he asks for cards.
“Her Pokémon cards are her most precious possession,” said her mother, Kimberly Woodruff, 26.
But Bryson decided to sell his cherished cards to save his dog’s life – a humble gesture that has spread across the country and raised thousands of sick animals.
“It makes me happy that everyone has come together,” Bryson told USA TODAY, thanking the people who helped his dog.
The boy from Lebanon, Virginia, had wanted a dog for years and cried when he left the local animal shelter after a visit, Woodruff said.
In March, a friend’s dog had puppies and Woodruff adopted Bruce, a now 4-month-old black lab mix. Soon Bryson and Bruce were inseparable.
“They are best friends,” said Woodruff. “They love each other.”
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But then Bruce, once a “very playful puppy,” suddenly stopped coming out of his crate and started losing weight, Woodruff said.
Bruce was diagnosed with parvo, a contagious virus that can be fatal if left untreated. Woodruff had given Bruce self-administered vaccines, including parvo, to save money, but hadn’t realized they needed to be refrigerated.
Vets told Woodruff it would cost $ 655 for the first three days of Bruce’s treatment and warned it would take more, including thousands of dollars to keep him in the animal hospital overnight until. to a week. It was a price the family couldn’t afford.
Woodruff explained the situation to Bryson the next morning. “Mom, I don’t want Bruce to die,” he said tearfully. “I’m going to pray that he doesn’t die.
After school, Bryson came home with a plan: he pulled out a bunch of papers from his backpack – drawings scribbled on the back of his homework from a booth with his Pokémon cards on them. He would sell his collection to save his pup.
At first, Woodruff discouraged Bryson. “We will find a solution,” she said. “Do not worry about that.”
But the next day, Woodruff was in his phlebotomy class when her husband sent a photo of Bryson sitting at a table in the front yard with a wooden sign that read, “Pokémon 4 SALE.” Woodruff cried.
“It was heartwarming, but it hurt to see,” she said. “I didn’t want it to be something he had to worry about. It’s my job. But seeing him so selfless made me realize that I had done something right by raising him to be like that.
Slowly, handfuls of neighbors gathered around the Pokémon card stand, thinking the boy was only selling his cards for extra pocket money. But when they found out what it was for, word began to spread.
“It started with a few neighbors, and then these people told people and they told more people, and it continued and it continued,” said Woodruff.
Woodruff shared Bryson’s photo at the booth on a local Facebook group, hoping more neighbors would stop by. She said she did not expect “an overwhelming outpouring of support.”
Some of his Michigan friends asked him to create a GoFundMe for Bryson because they lived too far away to support the booth in person. So Woodruff created a page called “Just a Boy Trying to Save His Dog”.
“I know I raised him well,” reads GoFundMe’s description. “With a heart of gold because he’s so worried about our Bruce, he’s by the side of the road trying to sell his favorite thing in the world just to improve his pup. “
As the story spread and online donations poured in, dozens of people lined up at Bryson’s booth. Selling each card for between $ 5 and $ 10, the boy raised $ 400 in just two afternoons.
Some neighbors brought their own collections of Pokémon cards and gave Bryson their cards to replenish his collection. Others donated money and dog supplies.
Bryson’s grandfather David Cole Jr. said the family had received messages of support from people in China, Australia and Ireland.
“With everything that has happened over the past year and a half, we need some sun,” he said. “But for Bryson, all he knew was that his pup was sick, and he would do whatever it took to save his pup.”
Bryson was even a guest on the National Dog Show in November. And when a Pokémon Co. employee in Seattle heard about Bryson’s efforts, the company sent him packs of rare Pokémon cards.
“He was stunned when he opened them,” said Woodruff.
Woodruff said her son, whom she describes as shy and introverted, was overwhelmed by the attention. After their local news station interviewed him, he told his mother, “I just want to be a kid.”
“I wasn’t expecting any of this,” said Woodruff. “It gave me hope for humanity. Seeing people come together like this to help my little boy was just wonderful. “
So far, the GoFundMe has raised over $ 19,500. Woodruff decided to contact local shelters and animal hospitals and use the extra money to pay for what they might need or to help families who are struggling to afford health care for their dogs. Woodruff and Bryson have so far helped four families pay for medical care for their dogs.
Meanwhile, Bruce is “back to normal 10 times,” Woodruff said.
Woodruff said she hopes Bryson and Bruce’s story serves as a warning to people to get their dogs vaccinated and not rely on self-administered vaccines unless they have the experience. to use them.
“I hope this story will help people realize that there is still good things left in this world,” she said. “I am amazed at the outcry of support for a little boy and his dog in the small town of Lebanon, Virginia. Who would have thought.
Contact News Now Reporter Christine Fernando at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at @christinetfern.