Braveheart Gifts Arrive with Stories

BraveheartAs animal lovers around the world have opened their hearts to help Braveheart, the dog that was rescued from a Kentucky dumpster, compassion and good wishes have washed through the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine (UWSVM). Notes and cards, stuffed animals and dog collars have accompanied the hundreds of gifts that will pay for Braveheart’s medical care and will be used to help other rescued animals in need of medical help.

“There are a lot of caring people,” said Laura Olson from UWSVM who opened the letters. “These have been wonderful to read.” Here’s a sampling of the letters that have given Olson new faith in people.

“I’m on Social Security. Wish I could give more,” a Connecticut woman wrote on a sticky note that accompanied her $5 gift. “I’m also Scottish. Think I’d turn down Braveheart?”

“I can’t afford much, but I hope that in some small way this will help out,” a disabled Wisconsin woman on a fixed income wrote when she sent $10 and a stuffed animal for the dog whose systems were shutting down when he arrived at the University of Wisconsin Veterinary Care. “Keep up the good work, and God bless you all.”

In Indiana, Miss Hunsucker’s third graders made cards for Braveheart. Seven-year-old Madeline from Evansville, Wisconsin, sent 80 cents of her own money along with a check from  her parents – to buy Braveheart a bone.

It’s only been two weeks since Braveheart’s story went viral on the Internet. More than 400 animal lovers from around the world have sent what they could to help the dog that was rescued by One Starfish Rehoming Connections when no other shelter could afford to take him in and put on the road to a healthy future at UWSVM.

The response to a story that has touched so many hearts has resulted in many small gifts that have added up to almost $18,000. Any gifts that are not needed for Braveheart’s care will be used to help other rescue animals, said Kristi Thorson from UWSVM. “One Starfish has brought other animals to us in the past, and they are not the only rescue organization that comes to us,” she said.

A prospective UW-Madison student from Monona came across Braveheart’s story while checking her UW status. “Praying for you and your caretakers,” she wrote in a note with her $30 gift. “May your body and heart heal and may you find a loving home. I’ll keep following you on Facebook.”

Photos of Braveheart

Braveheart cardsBraveheart explores his presentsBraveheartBraveheart sleeps

Braveheart, the dog found in a Kentucky dumpster, tentatively explores some of the cards and gifts generous animal lovers sent to him. Photos by Kim Sprecher.

Many people mentioned they had rescue animals and that, although it took time, these pets were fabulous, Olson said. A Washington state woman wrote about Sadie, the dog she’d rescued eight years ago. “She’s still the love of my life (next to my husband of course). On behalf of all dogs, rescues especially, please accept a small token of my appreciation toward the care you are providing Braveheart and all of the dogs like him out there.” She sent $25, which was the most common gift, Olson said. Gifts ranged in size from 80 cents to $1,000.

At One Starfish in Columbus, Wisconsin, founders Jim and Marti Houge are grateful for the outpouring of generosity. “It is very heartwarming to think these people care so much about a dog they’ve never met and trust us to take care of him,” Marti Houge said. “We’ve become such a jaded society and no one trusts anyone anymore. It is wonderful to know that these people believe in us and what we’re doing for Braveheart enough that they are willing to donate their money to help.”

Stories in the Wisconsin State Journal and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tell more of Braveheart’s story. UWSVM also posts frequent updates about Braveheart’s progress on its Facebook page.