NANAIMO — A young Nanaimo boy has shown his peers how to have a truly special birthday.
Over the last three years, Cooper Johnston has donated nearly $4,000 to the Nanaimo branch of the BC SPCA. Instead of gifts from his friends and family, Cooper has asked for money to donate to the Nanaimo SPCA.
This year, the nine-year-old donated $1,655, which is more than $500 more than the year before.
“Donating is my gift,” Cooper told NanaimoNewsNOW when asked why he'd asked for donations instead of presents from his friends.
Having always shown a nurturing and caring spirit, his desire to donate to the SPCA was sparked by his step-brother Adam Johnston donating to the BC Children's Hospital.
Given his passion for cats and helping animals, the SPCA was a natural fit.
“I felt proud of myself and very happy,” he said. “I knew how many animals I'd be helping with that money.”
He's also held two birthday parties at the SPCA, where his friends get to meet the animals, tour the facility and learn how to be responsible pet owners.
Blaire Sigson, the humane educator at the Nanaimo SPCA, said it's amazing to see how much passion and energy Cooper has for animals.
“Having a child so interested in helping animals, not just with money, is infectious,” she said. “He's able to talk to his friends and family members...just from that he has a huge effect on how others see us and how others want to help animals.
“When kids are engaged, that's how we're going to prevent animal cruelty in the future,” she said.
Cooper also named two cats when he and his mother were volunteering for several months at the SPCA.
Though they no longer volunteer due to time constraints, Cooper said he can't wait to be old enough to volunteer there on his own.
“I can't wait until I can get an electric bike and then I can motor on over there to volunteer,” he said, beaming with enthusiasm.
For more information on the SPCA and the animals currently looking for a forever home, visit our Pet Corner.
On Twitter: @spencer_sterrit
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