September 12, 2012

White Dog and The White Dog Army
Wonderful World Wednesday

White Dog often argues that if adult humans just learned to listen better to their furry companions and heeded  the examples set by innocent children, that the world would be a far more wonderful place…less full of score keeping and meanness; more full of just doing the right thing because, well, it is the right thing.

I know I fill to bursting with pride when the White Dog Army naturally, quietly, closes ranks around Quinn when he is doing poorly to shepherd and protect him; I am moved to near tears when Michael gives away his lunch or his umbrella to someone who “looked like they needed it more than I did.” They have not been “taught” these tricks, and yet they KNOW the right thing to do…and do it without a big to do.

Maybe it is because pups and children don’t over think things. Maybe it is because they have not yet learned about the power of “having.” Whatever it is, the state of the world sure could use the healing balm of more of what this amazing child has to offer…

Boy, 8, donates $1,000 prize to little girl, 2, with leukemia
His question after winning scavenger hunt: ‘How much chemotherapy will this buy Cara?’
By Laura T. Coffey , TODAY contributor updated 9/6/2012 11:21:28 AM ET

Wyatt Erber is awfully single-minded for an 8-year-old. When he learned about an extensive, summer-long scavenger hunt in his town, he went for it. And when he learned the scavenger hunt winner would pocket a cool $1,000, he immediately knew what he would do with the money.

“He said, ‘Let’s do this to help Cara!’” said Wyatt’s mom, Noelle Erber, 40, of Edwardsville, Ill. “I remember thinking, ‘who am I to tell him that he might not win?’”

It turns out that Wyatt did win — and, without hesitation, made good on his promise. He gave all his winnings to Cara Kielty, a 2-year-old girl who lives on his street and was diagnosed with leukemia in May.

“I wanted to help her,” Wyatt told TODAY.com.  

After much back and forth with Wyatt’s parents, the Kieltys realized how much Wyatt had wanted to do this from the beginning. What affected them most of all was when they heard the question Wyatt had asked his parents about the money he had won: “How much chemotherapy will this buy Cara?”

“When I heard that, I thought, wow,” Kielty said. “I knew his mom must be so proud of him for being that compassionate and that giving, and I knew we just had to accept it.”

Caring for Cara — and for Cara’s parents — has become a grassroots group effort in the family’s close-knit neighborhood ever since the youngster was diagnosed May 21. While Cara’s parents spent long days with their little girl at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, neighbors stepped forward in ways large and small: mowing the lawn, creating a Pedal the Cause cycling team in Cara’s honor, organizing other charity events for the family, setting up a dinner-cooking schedule that went on for weeks.

Wyatt has been observing all of this, and it’s left an impression on him. He’s also been affected by participating with his parents in Cookies for Kids’ Cancer charitable bake sale events. “He bakes dog cookies with his sister Anna, and they always sell out,” said Wyatt’s mom, who works as a tax law analyst. “We’ve exposed him to the whole idea of helping other people and understanding what cancer is — that, basically, it’s not what you want.”

Wyatt is close friends with Cara’s older brother, Connor, who also is 8. When Wyatt learned that his buddy’s little sister had cancer, he jumped into action. “Right away he came home and emptied out his piggybank — you know, something an 8-year-old can do,” Erber said. “And then he heard about the scavenger hunt.”

Sponsored by First Clover Leaf Bank in Edwardsville, the hunt called for finding clues at local businesses around town all summer long. Wyatt never lost interest in the game and never forgot why he was doing it.

“I thought this would help them buy medicine for Cara,” Wyatt said.

Cara was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common form that children get, and has been receiving weekly chemotherapy treatments. At times, she feels truly miserable. On other days, though, Cara is her usual silly, funny, sassy self. Doctors have told the Kieltys to be prepared for two and a half years of ongoing cancer treatments. They’ve also said Cara should have a 90 percent chance of being cured.

“It’s really opened our eyes,” Trisha Kielty said. “My husband and I, we thought we were OK people, but now we see, wow, we could be so much better. I mean, my daughter is ill and that’s horrible ... but because this happened we’ve seen people’s true colors, and it’s made us much better people.

“The next time I see someone who needs a dinner schedule or some other kind of help; I’m going to be the first one to sign up.”


Amber DaWeenie said...

Children are really amazing. It's so heartwarming when I hear stories like this.

Brian said...

Yes, humans can learn a lot and that story was so wonderful!

Nola said...

What an amazing story

Tweedles -- that's me said...

Such senstivity in the young.
What a wonderful story

Random Felines said...

these are the stories that restore my faith in humanity....may these kids grow up to make the world a better place!

Noelle Erber said...

Thank you for the kind words! Wyatt has 3 big beautiful black labs and has certainly learned quite a bit about unconditional love and loyalty from them. Please give your white dogs a little pat from Wyatt. ~Noelle - Wyatt's proud mom