This wonderful story about friendship, inclusivity, and kindness comes from Maya and Liberty Persaud. Enjoy!
Being new at school is always hard, and being new at school in a new country is even harder. Maya and Liberty, and their parents Ryan and Sarah, moved to Curitiba, Brazil, in July 2018. Their parents work at the International School of Curitiba, where the girls attend school. The previous four years, they had been attending school at Korea International School in Seoul. At the young age of nine, the girls sure know a lot about traveling to new places and the challenges of making new friends.
When they arrived at the International School of Curitiba, sisters Maya and Liberty, in Grade 3, had a great idea, inspired by the school their mother worked at in Milton, Ontario, Canada. They decided, with other ISC Ambassadors, to create a Buddy Bench, to help students make new friends. This is how it works: a child, who is feeling lonely, can sit on the bench to signal they need someone to play with. Once other children see that student at the bench, they can invite him or her to be a part of their game and feel included. Maya said: “We hope that children use the buddy bench and feel that it will help them make friends.”
The girls were asked what is one thing we can do to make the world a kinder place. Liberty said: “It would be a better place if people took the time to get to know each other more, as it would make the world a better place.” Maya responded: “If people did not fight over small things it would be better, and if people were feeling sad that other people would come to them. It would be better if all students were included.”
I received this lovely story from Bradley Bravard, a writer living in Florida.
Bradley used to foster dogs. Over the years, he fostered for several different rescue groups. He always made sure he only volunteered with organizations that had strict adoption policies. This gave him confidence in knowing that the dog was going to a good home. Bradley would then open up his heart and welcome the next dog who needed a place to live until they too were adopted.
But Little Steve was a different story. Little Steve was a blind miniature poodle who Bradley started fostering in 2013. Bradley is unsure of the dog’s history and the reason he ended up in a shelter. But fortunately for Little Steve, he found Bradley. Even though he was blind, Little Steve learned how to navigate his new surroundings. He also enjoyed being held.
Soon after Little Steve came to live with Bradley, the rescue disbanded, and Little Steve became Bradley’s dog. This is sometimes called a ‘foster-fail’, when the foster home becomes a permanent home. It’s not really a fail. Especially for the dog who now has a loving, forever home. Bradley and Little Steve shared their lives for the next four years, until Little Steve passed away from old age.
Bradley has fostered many breeds of dogs—labs, beagles, basset hounds, to name a few. He strongly believes people should choose adopting from a shelter instead of buying from a breeder.
No matter what type of dog they want, there is a rescue group out there with exactly that dog.
Bradley is no longer fostering rescue dogs, but he and his wife have a wonderful dog of their own, a fun-loving hound mix named Rosie who was adopted from a county animal shelter.
When asked what he thinks would make the world a kinder place, Bradley said, “To always value life—people, animals, and the environment, before money and material possessions.”
At last! My first KINDNESS IS EVERYTHING blog post. I’ve wanted to collect and share stories of people being kind to animals and each other for a long time. But as is often the case, life gets busy, and these ‘sort of things’ are pushed aside.
Well, no more. I’m choosing to allow myself a little joy each day! And that includes starting this blog. And I can’t think of a better day to begin—Father’s Day.
A large part of my love for animals was instilled by my dad. Watching him around animals is pure joy—for him, the animal, and whoever is lucky enough to witness his perfect mix of calm and excitement as he cuddles and plays with a dog or cat. I look forward to sharing one of his stories soon!
I’m so humbled by the response from friends and strangers alike, who answered my call for stories. Reading about these inspiring acts of kindness restored my belief that people can make a positive difference in the lives of animals and each other.
My goal is to post a story every week. A tall order, but one I believe is doable. There are so many people showing kindness each and every day. I hope you will send me your story of kindness.
I’m delighted to share this story from C.H. Brown. It seems appropriate that hers is the inaugural post on my blog. She, like me, is a writer, a vegan, and an animal lover. Plus, she was the first person to generously respond to my request for stories. I hope you find her act of kindness as heart-warming as I did.
Written by C.H. Brown in her own words- Enjoy!
The Real Cheshire Cat
Three years ago, I was lounging in bed on a Saturday when I heard a little meow, which I now understand to mean “Feed me!” in cat tongue. I stepped out on my front porch to see a small, thin cat with the most beautiful, emerald green eyes I ever saw. Judging by the rip in his ear and demeanor, I figured he must be a stray. Being the animal lover that I am, there was no question what to do next: I scooped him up and brought him inside.
The First Days with Chesh was an adjustment for the whole house. My husband and I already had two big, droopy-eyed hound dogs, and we didn’t plan on adopting a second cat. Even so, no matter how many loving families offered to home him in the days that followed, I couldn’t give him up. I kept making up excuses as to why the homes might not work. When I finally told my husband that I wanted to keep Cheshire for good, it came as no surprise. His name came easily to me, being a book lover particularly fond of Alice in Wonderland.
Within a couple weeks, Cheshire was happy to be picked up and held regularly, although only by me. Eventually though, he opened up to our pets and other people. In fact, he now romps and plays with the big dogs. he loves stretching on the yoga mat with me and going on hikes at our state park. Most nights he even shares my pillow. I would definitely describe us as inseparable.
Despite all of this, the Cheshire Cat wasn’t exempt from life’s challenges. Both Chesh and I struggle with anxiety, often caused by loud noises, sudden movements, or sometimes nothing at all. This can make it difficult to keep him calm when strangers get too close, or when we take walks where things are constantly moving around us. Still, we help each other overcome our anxiety. Sometimes, I still have panic attacks and, when I do, Chesh is the first one to sense my change in emotions and come running. But that’s not the hardest part.
The worst time was when our other cat, Cleopatra, suddenly became very sick. Over time, Chesh and Cleo became incredibly close, something of a cat couple. The vet took one look at Cleo and diagnosed her with Feline Leukemia, a disease that attacks the immune system. What’s worse, we were too late; she died there on the table. Knowing how close the two cats were, I was heartbroken that we were losing the baby in our family and Cheshire wouldn’t get the chance to say goodbye. Then, I learned this disease is highly contagious to other cats.
After Cleo passed, my husband and I hurried home, a one hour drive away, so we could bring Cheshire to have him tested before the vet closed. We got there in time and the vet gently drew his blood. The results took ten minutes. I think that was the longest ten minutes of my life. It was a terrifying notion to think I could lose any one of my animals, especially both cats in the same day. The vet reentered with a sad look that said it all: Cheshire was positive for Feline Leukemia.
That was over four months ago and, although we feel the absence of Cleopatra in our hearts, we’re a healthy family. Last month, Cheshire tested positive once again for leukemia, but you’d never know by looking at him. After months of medication and natural healing methods, like crystal and reiki sessions, Cheshire is completely symptom free. The vet says he probably doesn’t even know he’s sick and, the way I see things, he’s not at all.
When I watch him run and play, I’m confident Cheshire Cat will live a long and happy life. This experience showed me that I need to stop letting my anxiety control my actions and focus on living in the moment. The truth is, all things come to an end, good and bad. Keeping this in mind, however much time the Cheshire Cat and I do have together, I’m spending every day smiling. I’ll never forget the day I opened my door to meet those bright green eyes, and I’m so grateful for these unexpected gifts.
C.H. Brown lives with her husband in Tennessee where she writes a wide variety of prose, featured with Inner Sins, Blood Moon Rising, Cemetery Moon, and more. When she’s not writing, Brown seeks adventures in a world of her own, cuddling with the real-life Cheshire Cat or sunbathing on the yoga mat. Find more on C.H. Brown and her upcoming novel, The White Rabbit’s Apprentice, at writerchbown.wordpress.com or Twitter @writerchbrown.
I’m starting a new blog initiative- one I’m hopeful will grow. I find it hard to listen to the news these days. There’s an overwhelming amount of sadness out there. Many terrible things are happening to animals, the environment, and people. Though it’s important to be aware of the awful things happening on our planet, it often makes me feel anxious and frustrated because I don’t know how to help. The problems seem too big. So I thought I would start sharing stories of people—kids and adults, alike, who have helped animals, the environment, or a person in need. A little positivity when the world seems bleak.
It would be wonderful if these stories inspire others to do acts of kindness, but it would also be great if the story adds joy to someone’s day. My goal is to share a story each week, but of course that will depend on the number of people who respond.
PLEASE send me a story of a friend, someone in your family, or yourself extending a kind gesture to another being. There is no act of kindness or compassion too small, especially for the animal or person you helped. To them your kindness is everything.