The Huntsville Item, Huntsville, TX

Local News

January 14, 2014

New Waverly students gives up presents to help shelter

­Student, 10, gives up birthday presents to help shelter

HUNTSVILLE — Old Mother Hubbard

Went to the cupboard,

To give the poor dog a bone;

When she came there,

The cupboard was bare,

And so the poor dog had none.

Young children hear nursery rhymes growing up on numerous shows and in books that span generations, the tale of “Old Mother Hubbard” included.

Although her dog did not fare so well in the rest of the poem, one local boy gave up what many would not to make sure that Huntsville’s cupboards were full for at least a day.

Mason Smith, a 10-year-old fourth-grader at New Waverly Middle School, asked his family and friends to give him rather odd gifts for his birthday: dog food, cat food, treats and a few bucks to donate to the Rita B. Huff Animal Shelter in Huntsville.

So, why would a 10-year-old want to give up gifts on his birthday?

“It was just Christmas and I had all these presents,” Mason said matter-of-factly. “I didn’t know why I needed more so I decided to just donate.”

He received the donations Saturday at his birthday party. On Tuesday he delivered the goods and money to the shelter.

Mason, whose birthday was Monday, opened the Rita B. Huff doors with dog and cat food bags tossed over his shoulder, set them down and made a trip back to his grandmother’s truck for the second load: dog treats and more food.

“(I wanted to donate) just to help the animals that needed the food and care,” he said. “They’re cool and loving.”

According to Marjolein Lemmon, executive director of the Rita B. Huff Animal Shelter who has been there 28 years, Mason’s donation will make a small dent in the shelter’s overall need; it was the gesture that was more special.

“It’s been done before by adults but this is the first time a child decided to give his birthday money to the shelter,” Lemmon said. “We have a fund set up where we do half-price adoptions for people that can’t afford it. We’ll put (Mason’s) money in that fund to make it easier for some people to be able to adopt animals.”

That’s what Mason wants, too.

“I hope people decide that they want a pet from the money that I donated, and for the dogs so that they don’t have to buy more dog food,” he said.

Lemmon said the donation, which was around $200, will help roughly four animals find a permanent home through the adoption program. The food could help sustain the needs of the shelter for about a day as well. Lemmon said they use about 10 pounds of cat food and 50 pounds of dog food per day.

She gave Mason a certificate and a belated birthday card as a “thank you” for his donations.

Mason’s family is familiar with shelters and rescue animals. They’re animal lovers with dozens of horses, chickens, seven dogs and four cats, according to Mason and his mother Melissa.

“We have a soft spot for dogs and cats,” she said mentioning one of their newest dogs: a pit bull named Rosie. “On Thanksgiving we found a dog by the side of the road that had a broken leg. We spent a small fortune on him.”

She said most of the dogs that she and her husband Dean have were rescued, which is part of the reason she isn’t surprised at Mason’s decision.

“He has a soft spot for rescue animals,” she said. “I think it’s an amazing thing, a sacrifice like this.”

Part of Mason’s compassion for animals stems from his involvement with rodeo competitions. In 2012 at 9 years old, he was named the National Little Britches Rodeo Association’s Pole Bending and Flag Racing National Champion, Goat Tail Untying Reserve World Champion and the Little Wrangler Finals All-Around and World All-Around Champion.

But he humbly won’t tell you any of that – just that he likes the rodeo and “rides horses and ropes cattle.”

Mason came up with birthday idea all on his own, Melissa said.

“We were throwing around what he might want for his birthday,” she said. “Mason got a little more than he needed for Christmas and that’s what he came up with (by himself). We wrote on the (birthday party) invitation, ‘No gifts. We are donating to a local animal shelter.’”

They weren’t sure which shelter to donate to until his grandmother Kathy Beauchamp, also of New Waverly, helped come up with the Huntsville shelter.

Beauchamp adopted her 75-pound Catahoula Cur, Katie, from the shelter last year after Gomer, her other dog, died.

“My husband kept saying, ‘Oh we’re just looking. We’re not getting one today,’” said Beauchamp, who accompanied Mason to the shelter.

“We did this three times and I said, ‘Let me get her out and see how she is with kids.’ We let her out and made our rounds again. When I got back around the corner, she was in this box full of puppies. When she saw me walk up, she popped her head up, got out of that box and came straight over to that gate (and started pawing at me). I was like, ‘Get her out of there. I’m taking her home.’”

She hopes Mason’s story will prompt further donations from both children and adults. Lemmon agrees.

“(It is a) pretty neat idea,” Lemmon said. “Maybe some will follow. Every bit helps.”

After dropping off the donations, Mason toured the shelter’s dog cages. He also played fetch with Rocky, a dog owned by a shelter volunteer, and walked Rambo the Great Dane — who nearly matched Mason’s height — around the facilities.

Those interested in donating to the Rita B. Huff Animal Shelter, or other shelters, should call ahead.

“We get inundated with one certain thing,” she said. “That way we can tell them something we might be needing at the time, whether that be paper towels, cat litter, dog food, cat food, cleaning supplies.”

For more information on the Rita B. Huff Animal Shelter, call the staff at (936) 295-4666, or visit the website at www.ritabhuff.org.

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 4-24 Relay.jpg Walking, dining with purpose

    Folks are gearing up for this year’s Walker County Relay For Life on May 2 and festivities get underway this weekend when a special group of people will be honored.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • American dream to become reality

    What happens to a dream when it’s shelved? Will it cause the dreamer to loose faith in themselves?
    Huntsville resident Laura Delfin grew tired of wondering these very questions. She had deferred her dream of becoming a United States citizen for the last 10 years.

    April 23, 2014

  • Texas Bankers Hall of Fame names four honorees

    The selection committee of the Texas Bankers Hall of Fame announced the selection of Tieman H. Dippel Jr., Tom C. Frost, Joseph M. Grant and Rogers Pope Sr. as this year’s honorees to be inducted Thursday in the Lowman Ballroom of Sam Houston State University.

    April 23, 2014

  • Literary scholar named SHSU humanities, social sciences dean

    Abbey Zink, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of English at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, has been appointed the dean of Sam Houston State University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

    April 23, 2014

  • 4-23-the-hive-Behind-The-Hive.jpg THE HIVE: Behind the scenes at The Hive

    The Hive is about more than just journalism. It’s about expanding horizons.
    Being a part of a broadcast journalism team is a huge step for many students.
    Some students come equipped with a level of charisma that makes it easy to be on camera, others really have to push themselves.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-23-hive-GGs-Spring-Show-Dress-Rehearsal.jpg THE HIVE: May we have this dance?

    Recently, the Huntsville High School Grenadier Guards traveled to Galveston to compete in the Showtime International National dance competition. The dance team took home a national first-place award for team modern, and national second-place awards for team pom, contemporary and open.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-23-the-hive-CTE-Goes-CSI.jpg THE HIVE: CTE goes CSI

    Some students in the CTE Department’s (Career and Technology Education) forensics class at Huntsville High School got a chance last week to get “hands on” at the Brayton Fire Training Field in College Station.
    With simulated crime scenes, demonstrations of arson investigation techniques, students got up close and personal with authentic crime scene situations.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-23-the-hive-MTB-article-picture.jpg THE HIVE: Hornet mountain bikers make strong showing

    It’s 10 o’clock on Sunday morning.
    With cloudy skies and heavy air, members of the Huntsville High School mountain bike team line up at the starting line. With adrenaline pumping and legs eager to start pedaling, the bell sounds.
    They’re off.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-23-Davison,-Brent.jpg Infant stable, but still critical

    A 2-month-old baby who was found unresponsive at a Huntsville residence last week is in stable but critical condition at a Houston hospital.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Historian: Let’s talk about civil rights in Huntsville

    In 1965, the civil rights movement made its way to the city of Huntsville, beginning with a sit-in at the Cafe Raven, a popular restaurant at the time.
    To celebrate next year’s 50th anniversary of the move toward racial integration, the Sam Houston Memorial Museum will be hosting an oral history event for citizens and senior citizens to get together and share their accounts of the civil rights movement in Huntsville on Thursday night at 7.

    April 22, 2014

Photos


House Ads
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Facebook
AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide