~Stevie's Story ~
Turning Tragedy in to Triump for Animals in Need
Two days shy of Stevie Nelson’s fifth birthday, his best FURiends, his beloved Labrador Retrievers, Bo and Luke, went missing (March 14, 2010). Devastated by this family tragedy, Stevie’s only fifth birthday wish was to have his beloved boys come back home. Unfortunately, that was a wish his parents were unable to grant. Life changed for Stevie from that day forward. He thinks about what could have happened to Bo & Luke and prays that they are ok. After seeing a Public Service Announcement for the ASPCA at Christmas time that same year, Sarah McLaughlan's sad, sad song, "Angel" inspired Stevie to want to help more animals feel loved. It was SO important to Stevie that his "furry friends" without FURever homes feel loved, that he decided to dedicate his sixth birthday to helping local animals in need. Stevie realized at nearly six years old, that though he may never see his boys again, he can make a difference for animals in need and honor Bo & Luke by doing so.
Stevie's 6th Birthday Wish was to raise $6,000 in monetary donations and enough toys, treats, food and collars to "fill our truck full"....all to benefit the Northeast Nebraska Humane Society and their foster care pets. On March 26, 2011, Stevie hosted his 6th Birthday Party. His invitations asked party goers to NOT bring gifts for him, but to bring any items that could benefit the homeless animals in need. Stevie knew that lots of homeless pets go without squeak toys treats and love. It was his mission to change that. “Because all animals need love..” ~ Stevie
In just two months, Stevie raised $25,778.19 in monetary donations and over $6,000 in product donations. By the end of 2011, that number had skyrocketed to over $38,600 in monetary donations for NENEHS. In addition to both monetary and product donations, Stevie also brought awareness for a much needed shelter in Northeast Nebraska, as well as raising awareness for the need of Foster Care Families for his "furry friends".
Stevie's generosity sparked national attention. The ASPCA has named Stevie the ASPCA's 2011 Tommy P. Monahan "Kid of the Year". Stevie joined six other xtraordinary people and pets at the Humane Awards in New York City in November 2011.
Stevie knew that the national attention that he was receiving was an excellent opportunity to continue his mission to help more animals in need. Stevie decided to use his unique platform to advocate for even more animals in need. Stevie teamed up with the 2011 ASPCA Dog of the Year, Surf Dog Ricochet for a HOWLIday fundraiser! Stevie's Kritter Toy was a huge success! Stevie was able to make product donations to at least one shelter or rescue in all 50 states.
With the help of his parents, Stevie established, Stevie’s Furry Friends, Inc. (501c 3 pending) so that he is able to continue his mission to help homeless animals in need feel loved. For Stevie’s 7th Birthday (March 2012), he asked his Facebook FURiends to make donations to their shelters & rescues in honor of him! Stevie loves holding Facebook Fundraisers to help receive product and monetary donations!
In addition to helping animals in need, it is also Stevie’s mission to help educate kids that they can make a difference in their community. Stevie has established a Furry Friends Club! to encourage more youth to become active for furry friends in need by volunteering, advocating or fundraising! Stevie hosted his 2nd Annual Kritter Toy Drive, which was again a HUGE success! To date, Stevie has raised over $80,000 in products and donations for homeless pets. Stevie’s Furry Friends, Inc. has made donations to 145+ shelters and rescues across the USA in the last 18 months. Stevie has inspired youth to help animals in need. Stevie continues to Pay it Forward by sending product donations to shelters/rescues that kids in his Furry Friends Club! support, furthering his mission to help more furry friends in need and inspire children to participate in helping homeless lets in their community.
As 2013 begins, Stevie is making plans to establish a Pet Education Program in Northeast Nebraska, a quarterly program where children can learn about respect and responsibility of pets and how to make a difference for animals in need! In addition, With the help of his amazing FURiends in the Pet Industry, Stevie hopes to be able to further his mission at a national level to help MORE furry friends in need & inspire even more children to help in their community…
"Because all animals need love..." ~Stevie