8-year-old sells Pokémon cards to pay for dog's vet bill

One 8-year-old’s love for his dog knows no bounds.

In early May, Bryson Kliemann and his family noticed that their dog, Bruce, a 4-month-old lab mix, wasn’t feeling well and took him to the vet. He was diagnosed with worms and given medicine, but it didn’t seem to help.

“Overnight, he was just getting worse and worse,” Kimberly Woodruff, Bryson’s mother, told “Good Morning America.” “I took him back the next day, and he actually lost 5 pounds overnight.”

After further testing, Bruce was diagnosed with canine parvovirus. The disease is highly contagious and affects the gastrointestinal tracts. Left untreated, it can be deadly.

The cost of treatment was estimated at $655 — possibly higher depending on the actual procedure. The family couldn’t afford it — Woodruff’s husband works, but she’s in school and cares for their three kids.

PHOTO: Bryson Kliemann, 8, from Lebanon, Va., decided to sell his Pokemon cards to pay for his dog Bruce's vet bill.

The night before Bruce was diagnosed with parvo, Woodruff said she was putting the kids to bed when Bryson told her, “I don’t want Bruce to die. I’m going to pray that he doesn’t die.”

The next morning, she dropped her kids off at school and was honest with them.

“I’m a realist with my kids,” she said. “I told them, ‘Today, when you come home, Bruce might not be home. He might be at the vet or he might be in heaven.'”

Bryson then came up with a plan: Sell his Pokémon cards for $5 to $10 each. He had drawn posters and mapped out what a table would look like, similar to a lemonade stand, and then showed his mom after school.

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“I told him, ‘No, we can’t do that. We’ll take care of it and then figure out a way. We’ll make it happen,'” Woodruff said.

Woodruff takes phlebotomy classes two days a week during the early evenings, and while she was away Bryson took matters into his own hands.

PHOTO: Bryson Kliemann, 8, from Lebanon, Va., decided to sell his Pokemon cards to pay for his dog Bruce's vet bill.

“My class is almost over, and I get a picture from my husband — my kid is in my front yard selling Pokémon cards,” Woodruff said. “I cried.”

She said Bryson loves Pokémon and has collected the cards since he was 4. While the series means a lot to him, Bruce meant more.

“He’s extremely close with [Bruce] because he’s our first family dog,” Woodruff said, adding that Bryson plays with his dog more than he does his two younger siblings, who are 3 and 5.

Woodruff posted the photo of Bryson at his Pokémon card stand in a local Facebook group in the hopes that some neighbors might stop by.

While Bryson did end up selling a few of his cards, he received much more in return. Woodruff said that people came by with their own Pokémon card collections to donate to him, while others just stopped by to donate money and pet supplies. In just two days, he raised $400.

After they set up a GoFundMe where people could donate — the original goal was just $800 — they raised over $21,000.

“It just got really big, really quick,” Woodruff said.

PHOTO: Bryson Kliemann, 8, from Lebanon, Va., decided to sell his Pokemon cards to pay for his dog Bruce's vet bill.

After paying for Bruce’s procedure and setting some money aside for future veterinary expenses, Woodruff said they plan to use the money to help other local families with their vet bills and donate to animal shelters. The latter idea comes from Bryson, said Woodruff.

Bruce is now back home with the family and more energetic than ever. Currently, Bryson is in Michigan visiting family and calls home every day — but not for his human family.

“He calls to video chat Bruce,” Woodruff laughed. “Not even mom — Bruce.”

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