Eight-year-old Bryson Kliemann didn’t hesitate to sell his most valuable possessions to save his beloved dog, Bruce. Then the world jumped in on this tale of love.

By Tracey L. Kelley
June 07, 2021
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black lab puppy on brown plaid blanket
Credit: 5second / Adobe Stock

This isn't just a story about a boy and his dog. This is a story about how the deep love between a boy and his dog moves hundreds of people to take action. 

Earlier this spring, Kimberly and Tyler Woodruff of Lebanon, Va., brought home their first family puppy, Bruce, a 4-month-old Labrador retriever mix. They have three children, so Bruce was definitely everyone's new furry best friend! But their oldest son, Bryson Kliemann, was especially smitten with the pup's energy and playful personality. 

Bruce received all his vital early puppydom vaccinations, including for the highly contagious disease, parvovirus, or parvo. So when he was suddenly lethargic and started losing weight, the family became concerned, then surprised, when a veterinarian diagnosed him with this inflammatory intestinal condition. Left untreated, it can be lethal, so the only recourse was for  Bruce to be hospitalized. 

Emergency vet care is costly, and the Woodruffs only had enough money saved to keep Bruce in the hospital for about three days. But because his parvo case was so advanced, he'd likely have to stay longer and require additional treatment to make a full recovery. 

When 8-year-old Bryson overheard his parents talking about mounting veterinary bills, he didn't hesitate to take action. This is the message he shared with his classmates the next morning, asking for help for his beloved pup.

Bryson positively loves Pokémon cards, and has quite a prized collection. But he decided to sell them all to raise money for Bruce's care. Shortly after Bryson returned home from school that day—unbeknownst to his parents—he set up this kiosk in their yard. 

Here! Take our tissues! We insist!

Kimberly Woodruff told The Washington Post that Bryson has collected Pokémon cards since he was 4 years old, and they were all he ever asked for as gifts. When her husband sent this photo to her, she said she broke down and cried, "saddened that her son felt compelled to sacrifice his favorite belongings, but also heartened that he was willing to do it for his dog," The Post reported. 

Neighbors in Lebanon stopped by Bryson's stand to buy a few at $5 or $10, depending on the cards' trading value. However, more often than not, they simply put a few dollars in Bryson's money jar without taking anything in return. In just two days, he'd raised $400! 

In fact, this boy with a heart of gold inspired a wave of community support. Fellow collectors shared their Pokémon cards to boost his collection, other people dropped off dog food and other supplies, and a brewery even hosted a special "Brews for Bruce" event to raise more money. 

And as a special thank-you to Bryson for his efforts, an employee from the Pokémon Co. in Seattle sent a package of rare cards to add to his collection. "I couldn't believe it," Bryson told the Post. "I was so, so, so, so excited."

Woodruff was encouraged to start a GoFundMe page because so many people were touched by Bryson's selfless efforts and wanted to help. With just a modest goal of $800, pet lovers all over the world donated more than $7,500! Woodruff said in her Post interview that the generous funds not only paid for all of Bruce's extensive treatment, but also allowed the family to support other sick pets in Southwest Virginia with a "pay it forward" approach: covering bills for other people who can't afford vet care and donating to a local animal shelter. 

And what about Bruce? Why, he's just fine! Back to full weight and bright-eyed, with a shiny coat and full of his usual bounce, he knows he's one lucky pup to have a boy who will go to any lengths to assure he has his best life.

This story originally appeared on dailypaws.com