4-year-old Jaxton Betschart has always been a huge animal lover. Since he was born, there were at least three rescue dogs living with his family at a time, and Jaxton has loved and respected each and every one of them.
Jaxton’s family currently has four rescue dogs and two rescue cats. He gets along with all of their pets but its Geo, one of their dogs, who Jaxton is especially drawn to because of the dog’s calm demeanor.
The dogs in their household are made up of different breeds and personalities, but Jaxton has yet to own his favorite one: pit bulls.
Elyse Betschart, Jaxton’s mom, told The Dodo: “Over the past year he has really become aware of what his favorite type of dog is, pit bulls, and about animal rescues. Animal advocacy is a huge part of my life, from adopting, volunteering, sponsorship and education, and so it only made sense that Jax would become a (slightly) overzealous animal lover like me.”
Jaxton has visited animal shelters – or what he likes to call “Cute Factories” – on several occasions. Whenever he and Elyse have free time, they go to animal shelters within their area so that Jaxton can make all the cats and dogs feel loved while waiting to be adopted by their forever families.
“He likes to visit with the dogs and cats and ask them how they’re doing and to wish them good luck on finding their new family. He is very cognizant that people give up their animals for many reasons, and he makes it his mission to tell each dog and cat he sees that he loves them.”, Elyse said.
One day, while they were driving around, Elyse thought of bringing Jaxton to the Charleston Animal Society (CAS), a shelter that he has never visited before. As the boy was saying hi to all of the animals, a pit bull named Penelope caught his attention. Jaxton immediately fell in love with the pup and wanted to adopt her, even naming her “Spot” because of the spots on her head.
Unfortunately, they couldn’t adopt Penelope because Jaxton’s dad is a marine, and if ever they have to move back to base housing, pit bulls aren’t allowed in there. Instead, Elyse told Jaxton that they could help Penelope in another way – by sponsoring her adoption.
CAS has a Guardian Angel program, wherein a person can sponsor all or a part of an animal’s adoption fee. When Jaxton learned that he could do that, he immediately agreed and wanted to participate.
Elyse said: “Once I told Jax we could do that, he said it was ‘a good deal’ and told me he had money at home to pay for Penelope/Spot. I told him that I would be happy to ‘loan’ him the money for Penelope/Spot, so we started walking out of the dog room and right before we left, Jax saw Tank.”
Tank is another pit bull in the shelter, a huge gray one. Once again, Jaxton fell in love with the dog, but for the cutest of reasons.
“He could not believe there was a puppy ‘big and chunky’ just like him. Jax begged me to adopt Tank so the two of them could play Incredible Hulk together and he wanted me to know that Tank was his new best friend in the whole wide world.”
Elyse told her son that they also couldn’t adopt Tank, but he could sponsor him, too. Once Jaxton knew, he proudly walked out of the dog room and told the shelter staff that he would be an angel for Penelope and Tank. The staff then took pictures of Jaxton with the two dogs, and he became their official guardian angel.
A staff member posted the pictures on Facebook and the story immediately went viral, with an overwhelming number of people asking how they could help in finding homes for these animals.
Because of Jaxton’s generous act, Tank and Penelope were quickly adopted! A lot of people were also inspired by the 4-year-old’s generosity that the shelter became flooded with sponsorships and even several adoptions after what he did.
It’s so great that at such a young age, love and compassion for animals have already been instilled in Jaxton’s heart. Kudos to Elyse for raising his son to be empathic towards other living creatures, and for teaching him that animals deserve a family and home just like humans.
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