For an average 8-year-old boy, a Pokémon card collection is priceless, but to Bryson Kliemann, his dog was worth more.
Since he was 4, Bryson has collected a plethora of Pokémon cards, but soon after learning that his 4 month-old puppy Bruce needed life-saving medical treatment, Bryson put a wooden sign on his lawn that read “Pokemon 4 SALE.”
“Bruce got sick and needed my help,” Bryson told The Washington Post. “I was super sad. I didn’t want to lose my best friend.”
In May, Bryce’s family noticed that Bruce, a mixed lab, was becoming lethargic.
“He is a very playful puppy, and he wasn’t really moving,” said Bryson’s mother, Kimberly Woodruff, 26. “He wasn’t coming out of his crate; he wasn’t eating.”
Bryson Kliemann, an 8-year-old from Lebanon, Va., spent two afternoons stationed on his front lawn selling his Pokémon card collection to raise money for his dog’s medical treatment.
After a quick trip to the local vet, Bruce was diagnosed with Parvo, a lethal virus that Bruce was already vaccinated for.
The treatment for the contagious virus would cost at least $655 which included a three-day visit to the veterinarian along with other expenses that the family could not fit into their budget.
In a conversation between Bryson’s parents about the cost of treatment, Bryce managed to overhear bits of it and decided to take action himself.
“That’s how he came up with the idea that he was going to help,” Woodruff said. But when her son shared his plan to sell his Pokémon cards, she told him not to worry and said that they would find a way to pay for the treatment no matter what.”
After school, Bryson set up a table outside his home in Lebanon, Virginia, and eventually garnered a crowd of neighbors who were interested in his collection.
“I think they were sad for me and for Bruce,” Bryson said.
Woodruff posted an image of Bryson selling his cards on social media to try and get the attention of members of their community to buy something from the young boy. Not expecting much, Woodruff was surprised to receive “overwhelming” support.
Many neighbors asked if there would be a way to donate to help pay the vet bills so Woodruff started a GoFundMe page that raised enough money to cover the cost of Bruce’s treatment.
Woodruff was relieved. “I didn’t want him to have to sell his cards,” she said.
Many people didn’t buy his cards, she added, most people just gave Bryson $20 and asked for nothing in return.
“He sold some cards, but before I could even notice a dent in his collection, people had already dropped off so many more,” Woodruff said. “It was amazing.”
The Pokémon Co. store in Seattle decided to send Bryson cards to make up for the ones he sold.
“‘Hey Bryson, we were so inspired by your story about selling your cards for your dog’s recovery, these are some cards to help you replace the ones you had to sell.’” Woodruff said a note in the package read. “I was amazed. I didn’t think it would reach them.”
Now, Bruce is “definitely back to his puppy self,” but Woodruff is a proud mom after seeing her son’s selfless actions.
“I never in a million years would have thought something that my 8-year-old did in a small community would have such an impact,” she said. “It truly has been incredible.”