September 21 – Most kids love nothing better than opening presents on their birthday, but a local boy used his special day to help dogs – and cats – in need.
Jacob Maggard turned 8 on August 5. Instead of asking for gifts, Jacob asked his family and friends to donate to the Pulaski County Animal Shelter.
According to mom Lisa, Jacob got the idea from one of their neighbors. When Cheryl Sears passed away this spring, her family asked for donations for shelter instead of flowers.
“It had been in Jacob’s head,” Lisa said. “When his birthday came up, he decided that instead of gifts, he wanted to ask everyone to give to ‘Miss Cheryl’s Hideaway.’ That’s what he calls it.”
So Lisa asked assistant director Kim Sears, who happens to be Cheryl’s daughter, for a list of what the shelter needs most. In addition to sending Lisa, Kim posted the wishlist on Amazon. Lisa and her husband Brian are grateful for Kim’s help in making Jacob’s birthday wish come true.
“Some people sent the donations to her house and some here,” Kim said. “I received package after package from Amazon that people had called to donate.”
The Maggard moved from California to Somerset in August 2020 upon Brian’s retirement from the military. Lisa is also a veteran. Before returning to their native Kentucky, the family had rescued a dog three years ago from the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) where they lived on the coast – a “supermutt” that Jacob named Junior. Flash.
“We’ve always donated to the shelter, whether it’s used towels or an abundance of dog food,” Lisa said. “In California, our local shelter was very close to our house. They would post their needs on Facebook all the time, and Jacob and I would go to the store and pick up things to give away. For him, giving to the shelter is very normal but this one was special because it is ‘Miss Cheryl’s shelter.’ ”
What had not been shipped directly to the refuge, the Maggard loaded into their SUV and delivered the day after Jacob’s birthday. While he knew a lot had happened, Lisa said it wasn’t until Jacob saw everything in the vehicle that he realized just how much.
“The back was full of cat food, dog food, wet, dry, treats, toys, collars, just whatever you can think of,” Kim said, Lisa adding that Jacob exclaimed, “Wow, animals will be so happy! ”
During the delivery of the donations, Jacob offered snacks to all the dogs in the kennel – falling in love with one in particular that had already been mentioned.
“Jacob is a lovely boy and his love for animals has always shone,” Lisa said, adding that he also prayed that night at bedtime that all the animals would find a great home. “He always tries to give a gift, and I have a feeling it will become an annual thing.”
“This kid is absolutely great,” Kim said. “If we had more kids like him it would be a really cool place … This little boy’s heart is bigger than this refuge.”