Josh Stables poses with his dog Sam.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
During the holidays, many parents try to imbue their children with the idea the spirit of season is in giving, not receiving gifts.
That message wasn't lost on Josh Stables, a 14-year-old boy from Kenai, who opted to give up one of his Christmas presents this year to support the Food for Pets fund drive, which provides much-needed supplies to the Kenai Animal Control Shelter, Alaska Extended Life Animal Sanctuary in Nikiski and the Soldotna Animal Shelter.
"I love animals, and it feels good to help them out," Stables said.
It all started when the boy visited his father, Rich Stables, at work at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Building in Soldotna.
The organizers of the Food for Pets drive Jamie Bras, Holly Campbell and Jackie Hewett all work at the Borough Building and had put several collection boxes around the building.
"My son went into the copy room and noticed the collection box," Rich Stables said.
"He said he thought supporting the shelter animals was a cool thing, and that he wanted to help. I didn't think much of it at the time."
Not long after that, though, the senior Stables realized the boy meant to make good on his promise to help the pound puppies and kittens when asked what he wanted to do with some leftover gift money.
"We have a gift budget for each child, and there was some money left over for Josh. We were going to get him a gift certificate and asked him what he wanted it for, but he said he wanted to utilize that money to support the shelter animals," Rich said.
So, Josh used that money to purchase dog bones, canned cat food and other goodies for the animals.
Rich said he was proud of his son's decision.
"I told him what he did was a good thing. We appreciate that side of him, and it warms our heart to know that he has that in him," he said.
Rich said he wasn't entirely surprised by the his son's deed.
"He's always been into animals. Quite a few of his Christmas presents were books on animals. He likes to read up and learn about them," he said.
Josh agreed that animals are a big part of his life. He and his sister, Kara, share the responsibilities of caring for the family dog, four cats and their pet rat.
Josh also used to volunteer at the Kenai shelter until as he put it, "School got in the way."
That's not to say he doesn't take school seriously, though, as he already has plans for college.
"I want to be a veterinarian one day," he said.
Food for Pets organizer Bras also thought the boy's charity was noteworthy.
"I thought it was awesome that a kid would do that. It showed what the holiday season is all about," she said.
Bras said she also is pleased with how the drive went overall.
"Everyone was very giving this year. We raised just over $800, $400 of which was donated by the local ABATE guys, and several other community businesses and individuals donated and helped a lot," she said.
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