Gathering Comfort

by Roslyn Harris
Ohio, USA

Gathering Comfort

Madeline is 6 years old. Madeline is a busy girl with a lot on her mind. She likes amusement parks and thinks of designs for them and draws them on paper for everyone to ask questions about.

Her latest idea — to have a pet daycare — she got idea from a trip to the Humane Society. I must have lost my mind the day I said we would only go and look. How can you take a kid to the Humane Society and tell them they can’t bring an animal home?

She took it really well. We stayed for an hour, petting kitties and talking about why cats are there and what happens at the Humane Society. Madeline really wanted to bring a kitten home, but I said, “We already have two cats. How do you think Tom and Ginny would feel about having another cat in the house? Besides, if we took one cat home, we would only help that one cat. What about all the others?” We talked about how the animals get a bath on arrival, and how each one has a blanket in the bottom of their cage to be comfy on. She decided she needed to help *all* the cats and dogs.

Now every evening we go for a neighborhood walk to ask door to door for old towels and blankets for the dogs and cats at the Humane Society. She knocks on all the doors herself, says what she needs to say and says thank you even if the person has nothing to give. I just go along to watch for her safety and to carry the donations when the load gets too heavy. Not too many people refuse her.

She put the word out at our church and the daycare she attends, asked her older sister’s friends, and reminds us to ask for donations at work. Explaining what she would do after we’d asked all our contacts and were getting no new donations, she said she’d trick or treat for pet food, and beg at the pet supply store door for dog and cat food and treats.

The Humane Society lady knows Madeline now, and greets her with a smile when we arrive with our load of towels and blankets for the animals. Maybe it’s more help for the animals that she collects towels for them… or maybe more helpful that she plays with them when we visit.

I am thrilled that she’s decided to do this all on her own. Our neighbors say, “What a good parent you are,” but I reply that it’s all her idea. I have nothing to do with it; I’m just the bodyguard.

Madeline asked me to please add that anyone can take their old towels and blankets to the animal shelter, and it would be just the same as if you gave them to her to deliver. She says, “Thank you for helping the dogs and cats!”

Originally published as HeroicStories #474 on Dec 29, 2003

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