Eight year old saves sick puppy by selling his Pokémon card collection to fund life-saving treatment

Sick puppy Bruce and his owner Bryson in the car
(Image credit: Twitter)

If you’re in need of having your faith in humanity restored, then look no further than this story of a sick puppy whose life has been saved by the generosity and love of his human big brother.

Mixed Labrador Retriever puppy Bruce was just four months old when young Bryson Kliemann and his mother Kimberley Woodruff noticed that something was wrong and immediately took him to the vet.

"He is a very playful puppy, and he wasn't really moving," Woodruff told ABC News. "He wasn't coming out of his crate; he wasn't eating."

After taking him to the Southwest Virginia Veterinary Services, she was told that Bruce had parvovirus - a contagious and potentially lethal disease. Woodruff’s heart sank when the vet explained that treating the sick puppy would likely cost $700, money the family didn’t have.

"He is our first family dog," Woodruff explains. "I really didn't realize how expensive it could be until this happened. Our income is very limited, my husband is the only one who works since I’m in school.”

Eight-year-old Bryson overheard his parents discussing Bruce’s condition and the cost of the treatment. "It made me kind of sad because usually my brother and sister play together, and I don't have anybody to play with. So, I usually play with him," Bryson says.

Not willing to risk losing his new best friend, Bryson hatched a plan to sell off his beloved Pokémon cards to fund Bruce’s treatment. Without talking it through with his parents, the selfless youngster, who’d spent four years collecting the treasured cards, set up a stand outside his home with a large sign that read: Pokémon 4 Sale.

Pricing the cards between $5 and $10 depending on their value, Bryson made $400 in just two days, with many people offering donations expecting nothing in return. When Woodruff noticed what her son was up to, she set up a GoFundMe page for Bruce’s treatment.

Bryson initially set out to raise $800, but the GoFundMe page continues to see donations pouring in, with $17,900 having been raised so far - more than enough to cover Bruce’s initial and ongoing treatment.

Woodruff said she cried when she saw what Bryson was willing to give up for Bruce and how much people have rallied around the tight duo. “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.”

And this generous boy with a big heart isn’t going unrewarded for his selfless act with an employee at the Pokémon Co. in Seattle sending Bryson a package filled with rare cards. When it arrived, “I couldn’t believe it,” Bryson said. “I was so, so, so, so excited.”

Inside the package was a note from the Pokémon team that read: “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.”

The family has decided to use all the additional funds raised to help support other sick pets in Southwest Virginia and so far the funds have helped three families to pay their veterinary bills. 

“We definitely want to pay it forward. It’s a horrible situation to be in,” Woodruff said. “Knowing other families go through the same thing, we want to help.”

And as for Bruce? He’s now home, healthy, and back to his puppy-like ways. While he’ll continue to receive treatment, the family is grateful to all those who made his recovery possible. 

“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,” Woodruff said. “It truly has been incredible.”

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.