8-year-old's donation helps homeless dogs

Friday, January 30, 2015
Macy Mae Dotson and Claire (Submitted photo)

A simple act of kindness can have far-reaching consequences.

When 8-year-old Macy Mae Dotson approached an employee at Brashears Furniture in Berryville shortly before Christmas, she might not have been thinking about all those consequences. But she was thinking about Carroll County's homeless dogs, and she wanted to help.

Macy Mae was in the store with her father when she noticed a sign that said the store was accepting donations for Go East, Young Dog, a local nonprofit organization that sends unwanted dogs from Northwest Arkansas to adoptive homes in the eastern United States.

Macy Mae approached an employee in the store and said she wanted to donate some money to the program. The employee then called on co-owner Susan Brashears, who greeted Macy Mae.

"She handed me $10 and says 'this is for the dogs,' " Brashears recalled Thursday. "I was thinking she had made a mistake and I said 'this is $10.' Her dad said 'this is her money and this is what she wants to do with it.' "

Macy Mae's mom, Jackie Dotson, said her daughter and other students in Michelle Knapp's second-grade class at Berryville Elementary School had been collecting donations for Go East, Young Dog. But Macy Mae was sick and missed school the day the donations were turned in.

"I think it really bothered her that she didn't take something for the dogs that day," Dotson said.

Brashears said that after Macy Mae gave her the money, the little girl asked questions about how the money would be used.

"She was such an impressive little girl," Brashears said.

The Brashears were so impressed that not only did the store match Macy Mae's $10 donation, they also donated an additional $500 and created the Big Dog Challenge hoping to inspire others in the community to contribute.

Arvest Bank followed with another $500 donation. With Brashears Furniture and Arvest pledging to match an additional $500 each in donations, the kindness that Macy showed began to pay forward with donations flowing in from throughout the community.

Cornerstone Bank, Community First Bank, Steak Inn of Shell Knob, Mo., and Riverview Resort also pledged $500 each to the project.

The donations come at a fortuitous time. Go East, Young Dog founder Bill King, who has helped find homes for more than 600 dogs that were lost or abandoned in Northwest Arkansas, is relinquishing responsibility for the program. The Good Shepherd Humane Society animal shelter has agreed to assume responsibility but needs significant donations to continue the program.

Brashears has taken an active role in the fundraising drive and said Thursday that donations are getting close to meeting the goal of $35,000.

Brashears said Macy Mae's donation "was kind of the catalyst" for her involvement.

Jackie Dotson adds another detail that makes the story even more heartwarming: The $10 that Macy Mae donated was given to her by an acquaintance of Dotson's who saw Macy Mae in Wal-Mart shortly before Christmas.

"I had been thinking that I needed to find a way for her to pay that forward," Dotson said. "I guess she figured it out on her own."

Dotson, who works at a local veterinary clinic, said Macy Mae has always been an animal lover. And she's always had a generous spirit.

"She gave a toy away when she was about 3," Dotson recalled. "She did that on her own. I'm glad she's still that way. I'm proud of her."

To join Macy Mae in donating to the cause, call Doug or Susan Brashears at 870-423-4433 to make a pledge, send a check to Good Shepherd Humane Society, PO Box 285, Eureka Springs AR 72632, or drop it by one of the Doggie Thrift Stores.

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