When 8-year-old Bryson Kliemann’s dog got sick, he quickly decided to sell his most cherished belongings to pay for the medical bills.
“His Pokémon cards are his most prized possession,” his mother, 26-year-old Kimberly Woodruff of Lebanon, Virginia, told USA Today. His 4-month-old black lab puppy Bruce, however, is his “best friend.”
After years of visiting the local animal shelter and leaving in tears, Bryson finally achieved his dream of getting a canine pal in March, when a friend’s dog had puppies. The pair quickly became inseparable.
To save money, Woodruff self-administered the puppy’s vaccines, but didn’t realize they needed to be refrigerated, the publication reported. Soon, Bruce became sick, thin, refused to leave his cage and lost his playful puppy manner. Veterinarians told Woodruff that Bruce had parvo, a potentially fatal virus that required at least $655 to treat — and possibly more if he required overnight stays at the animal hospital.
When Woodruff told Bryson, he became hysterical.
“Mom, I don’t want Bruce to die,” he sobbed. “I’m going to pray that he don’t die.”
The next day, Bryson decided that in addition to praying, he’d also raise money by selling the lockboxes of Pokémon cards he’d been collecting since he was 4.
He stuck a wooden sign reading “Pokémon 4 SALE” in the front yard and, slowly at first, neighbors began stopping by. Once they realized where the money was going, word spread fast.
“It started out with a few neighbors, and then those people told people, and they told more people, and it kept going and going,” Woodruff said.
She posted a photo of her son’s stand in a local Facebook group and created a GoFundMe so nonlocal friends could contribute.
Bryson managed to make over $400 in two days, selling the cards for $5 to $10 each. Neighbors came by not just to buy the cards, but also began bringing him their own Pokémon collections to sell, and donating money and dog supplies, too.
A Pokémon Company International employee, moved by Bryson’s efforts, sent him a pack of rare Pokémon cards from Seattle, Washington, and the National Dog Show even invited Bryson to the November event.
The GoFundMe, titled “Just a boy trying to save his dog,” has raked in over $24,000 as of Friday, and the family has reportedly received encouraging messages from people across the globe.
The financial support has allowed Bruce to go “back to normal times 10,” Woodruff said, and she and Bryson have put the additional money towards helping four families pay for their dogs’ medical care.
“I hope this story helps people realize that there’s still good left in this world,” Woodruff said. “I’m amazed by the uproar of support for a little boy and his dog in small-town Lebanon, Virginia. Who would’ve thought?”