Leading up to Christmas or birthdays, most young children begin compiling a list of all the gifts they would like to receive. When they run out of ideas they usually begin studying the store inserts in the newspaper for the newest toys. The greed that one often observes reminds me of the shopping spree winner turned animal who uses the given opportunity to make a haul.
Little Sophia’s only request to her friends and family was that they bring pet items to her 7th birthday party. After hearing of a feature story about Paws Assisting Veterans on the evening news, Sophia selflessly decided that she would forego her own birthday presents and instead provide gifts to the service dogs who are in training to help disabled veterans.
Her mother contacted Dr. Michelle Nelson, the founder and director of PAVE and we then arranged for her to visit our facility where we train some of their service dogs alongside our other canine students. Paws Assisting Veterans is a non-profit organization which provides service dogs at no charge to veterans in need. Although they are trained to perform a number of tasks, most of them will be matched with those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Sophia and her mother came out this week with their car loaded down with offerings. She even presented a priceless little netted pouch containing $11. that she had collected. It was so refreshing to meet a young child who has been raised with the spirit of giving to others. Sophia in her most innocent form is simply a giver. She and I chatted about the service dogs and their jobs and of course, her own dog at home!
She then carefully arranged the wide array of toys, balls, dog treats, and food on a table and then we introduced her to Lucy, a German Shepherd who was more than happy to be the recipient on behalf of all the PAVE dogs. Lucy loves balls and kept picking out her favorite in the hopes that someone would play fetch with her!
All of us with Paws Assisting Veterans are very touched by the generosity of this special little girl who is barely 7 years old. Sophia, we think you are wonderful and hope to see you at some of our future events!