By Allie Katz
“I thought about it for a long time,” Olivia Cantville told me when we met at the APR shelter on Sunday afternoon while her parents were helping her deliver her donation, “and I thought it would be the best thing to do.”
When I asked her if she had saved the money from her allowance to purchase the 196 cans of cat food, she explained that her grandparents celebrated a holiday in their religion that is very much like Christmas. “I asked them if they would donate the money instead of buying me gifts, and that’s where I got the money to buy the cat food,” she said.
I had to restrain myself from pinching this sweet, adorable little second-grader to see if she was real! This kind of self-sacrifice coming from an 8-year-old is something we should all stop and very seriously contemplate.
Olivia told me she decided on cat food because she likes cats, even though she can’t have one of her own. She acquired her love of cats at her grandparents’ home where they feed and care for two “homeless” cats. Unfortunately, her Mom is allergic to cats, so Olivia has a Jack Russell terrier. Susie took the Cantville family on a tour of the shelter, where Olivia was enthralled with all the cats, including one gray tabby that really took a shine to Olivia. She also met an irresistible pure-bred Jack Russell terrier named Buddy.
Her Dad promised that, though she couldn’t take a cat home, they would visit the shelter on occasion where Olivia could play with all the kitties.
It was a great afternoon for everyone; Olivia got to play with kitties, the kitties received some much-needed food, Susie got to show off the shelter, Mom and Dad got to beam with pride over Olivia, and as for me, I left with an all new appreciation for and faith in humanity.