Not Quite Right
Something was off with his son of late. Barry noticed that he wouldn’t come home straight after school anymore. Was his little boy not so little anymore? He had never hidden anything from his father before.
One day Barry was at the shop with his little boy, and he left his wallet at home. He asked his son for change, but he didn’t have anything. Barry thought this was strange as he just gave him his week’s pocket money the day before. How could it be finished so quickly? Upon investigation, he would find something that upset him.
A Good Son
Ken Amante was Barrys son. He was a disciplined 8-year-old boy who always helped his father with chores around the house. They were from an impoverished area in Davao City, Philippines, and were humble people at heart.
It is accustomed for many children to walk to and from school. The area was relatively safe as nobody would steal from poor people. Ken was always on time, but for the last few days, he had reached home later than usual.
Working To Provide
Barry owned a small panel beating which he ran from home. He was a self-taught car mechanic and worked long hours to provide for his family. Business wasn’t always good, so he had to work extra hard to save money.
It was hard for the country, and Barry knew that hard times were not over yet. He didn’t know that things would worsen in his familial life too.
Where Does The Money Go?
Although he was not wealthy, he still tried to make his children feel like they were always okay. That’s why he always gave them pocket money so that they could learn how to be responsible with money.
Barry consistently gave his son money at the start of every week. So he found it strange that Ken didn’t have any spare change recently. He didn’t realize how shocked he would be to find out the truth.
One day, Barry decided to fetch Ken from school. It wasn’t often he got a chance to do so. The weary father waited outside for Ken while sipping a hot coffee. Just then, he saw his boy waiting to cross the road.
Barry was just about to wave to him, and something stole the smile from his face. A tall, older man walked up to Ken and stood behind him. Who was this stranger?
Barry immediately jumped out of his car. He headed toward Ken to save him from imminent danger. Just as he was going to cross the street, a large truck blocked him.
Ken! Barry screamed. His heart was pounding. He hoped he wasn’t too late.
When the truck pulled away, Barry had eyes on Ken again. He breathed a sigh of relief that his boy was still there.
Barry ran towards his son and grabbed his hands. Are you okay, son? he questioned; who was that man? Ken was so happy to see his father that he shrugged his tiny shoulders and said, “Dunno, Dad, maybe my friend’s Grandfather?” Barry thanked the Lord and walked over to the car with his son.
Catching Him Red-Handed
Although the school incident scared Barry, he let Ken continue to walk to and from school. Ken’s mood seemed fine the past few days, so Barry had nothing and nobody to worry about. He must be a relative of a student, he thought.
Barry thought the late-coming ordeal was over, but Ken had still been returning home late every day for the last two weeks. Barry was overly curious. He had to find out what his son was doing. That day he left his garage door open as he worked so he could keep an eye on things.
As luck would have it, that day, Ken arrived home from the school exactly on time. Barry watched his son walk inside the house, change his clothes and go back down the road. Where was he going so soon?
Barry hid behind the garage door. He watched his son briskly walk back down the road as though he had something important to do. He had no clue what his son was up to.
Barry saw that Ken had his empty backpack on. He had to find out where his son was going. The concerned father decided to tail him. He slowly followed the boy to the local grocery shop. What did he need to buy?
He waited outside to see what his son’s next move would be. When Ken exited, his bag was full of what looked like food items. Barry thought his son would head back home. He was surprised to see him continue walking down the road toward his mission.
Instead, little Ken went the opposite way. Armed with his backpack and whatever was inside, he headed off down the street.
But the sun was about to set, and everybody knew not to be out in these parts of the neighborhood at this time of night. Barry felt sick to his stomach. And he knew time was running out.
As Ken kept walking, all the nice corner cafes started evolving into liquor stores, junkyards, and pawn shops. The area was getting worse as he kept walking.
Barry didn’t understand why he would be going into these neighborhoods. What was his kid doing? Barry feared the worst. No eight-year-old should be wandering into these places.
Barry started walking closer to his son in this neighborhood, but he still tried to remain invisible to Ken. To his surprise, his son started walking down a side road. Then he observed Ken stop on an empty road.
As barry continued to watch his son, he slowly crouched down just above the cracked road. This is when Barry saw his boy take something out of the backpack.
MetroBarry’s curiosity spiked as he watched his son. What was he doing? What did he get out of the backpack? Barry knew he should come out and make himself known to Ken and protect him from whatever was about to happen, but Barry stood frozen in his tracks.
Then, suddenly there was a subtle sound from the bushes. Barry saw movement out of the corner of his eye.
Fight Or Flight
As Barry watched his son, suddenly, out of nowhere, three beasts jumped out of the bushes, their growl echoing throughout the grimy side street.
They slunk towards his son and surrounded him. Barry couldn’t comprehend what was going on. But he snapped out of it and let his intuition guide him — he sprinted towards his boy.
Not The Best Condition
When Barry reached his son, he started to scare the strays away. Then he looked down at the ground and saw cans of dog food on plates.
The strays weren’t in a healthy state. They looked starved and had tufts of hair gone. “I’m embarrassed to say I was pretty disgusted,” Barry admitted. But Ken was about to show him the kindness he never thought anyone had.
The Truth Comes Out
The pups, which Ken had named Brownie, Whitey, and Blackie, happily tucked into their food, tails wagging. Ken looked up to see his dad’s stern face. He owed him an explanation.
The little boy came clean, explaining that he had used his pocket money to buy as much dog food as possible. Every day for two weeks, he had come to this spot to feed the stray dogs. Barry was stunned. He knew he had to share what he had witnessed.
A Change Of Heart
In February 2014, Barry snapped the now-famous picture of his son feeding the strays and posted it on Reddit, which soon caught the attention of animal lovers worldwide.
“My son changed my perspective entirely,” he wrote. His son’s selfless actions touched him. But he was also concerned for Ken’s health. So, the father and son reached a compromise.
As the dogs were strays, Barry was worried that they carried diseases, such as mange. He told his son that he would buy the food for the dogs on the street on one condition: Ken would have to go for a rabies vaccine and carry disinfectant in his backpack.
Meanwhile, Barry’s post on Reddit was gaining traction. The father and son could never have anticipated the world’s response.
A Little Boy With Big Dreams
Ken told his dad that his dream was to open an animal shelter to look after the neglected animals living on the streets of Davao. So, after seeing the incredible response to his Reddit post, Barry decided to create a website for Ken called Happy Animals Club.
He also allowed Ken to bring Blackie, Whitey, and Brownie home to care for them, and soon, they were running a small shelter from their garage. After months of hard work, the full-size Happy Animals Club was open for business. The cover now holds two large pens, two apartments, and an annex! But Ken’s story isn’t the only one of its kind.
Welcome To Alaska
A similar incident took place across many miles in a small town in Alaska, United States. Thirty-five-year-old single parent Jody Summers realized her seven-year-old son was acting differently.
Mikey, who had a twin sister, Freya, wasn’t known to be cheeky. But one evening, his mom went to the backyard to call him and his sister for dinner. Although she found Freya, Mikey was nowhere to be seen.
An Adventurer At Heart
The little boy had always loved adventure. Sometimes, this love blinded him to the world’s dangers. How often had he strayed away from his family at the mall, and how many times did Jody insist that he come home directly after alighting from the school bus?
Of late, Mikey had changed his behavior, listening to his mom whenever she warned him against something. Everything was about to change.
The evening the incident occurred, Jody found Freya alone in their backyard. The little girl’s doe eyes were stuck on a gaping hole in the fence, her brows furrowed, and her tiny lips are trembling.
Jody asked her where Mikey was, and when Freya pointed at the hole, she knew something terrible had either happened or was a second away from happening.
Follow The Boy
She called out for her boy, knowing well what lay on the other side of their fence. When no answer came, Jody ran into the house for her coat. She picked one for Mikey as well, alongside a flashlight.
After ensuring Freya was okay, she stormed into the darkening neighborhood. She hoped her little adventurer was alright.
An Overnight Change
Jody loved her son very much, but sometimes he gave her the worst headaches. Over the past few months, his behavior had changed for the better, and although his curiosity still burnt bright, he did well to play within the rules Jody had set for him.
So she couldn’t understand why he’d left the confines of their neighborhood when she had warned him against doing such a thing. She couldn’t even explain how the hole had appeared in their fence.
Beyond The Fence
Jody hurried past her gate, turning into the thick woods beyond her fence. It’s there that her little adventurer had ventured into.
Shaking herself as her mind started interpreting the darkening crooked tree branches as towering monsters, Jody dashed after her baby boy. Her anger had morphed into hot searing fear, and her veins were choked full of worry and anxiety.
Into The Woods
Although the woods beyond Jody’s home housed few wild animals, none of them were ever a danger to society. But there were usually cases where wolves and even bears strayed too close to civilization.
As it was almost nightfall, Jody knew dangerous creatures showed up at such times. She couldn’t understand why Mikey would break the rules at such a time. What she’d find would send her beating heart down to her feet.
Jody raced amid creaking trees and crunching leaves. She called out for Mikey, her flashlight lighting her way as she ran through the foliage. (https://www.riverbendresort.us)
A scream rented the air, pulling her to a stop. It was Mikey. She called out for him, a sickening panic washing over her. What was happening to her little boy?
Jody called for Mikey again, and the answer was a frantic ‘mom,’ dunked in fear and distress. Jody’s mom’s instincts kicked in, and she dashed toward the voice.
She found Mikey sitting against a tree trunk. In his hand were two tiny malamute puppies, each malnourished but energetically licking his face. Jody’s heart dropped when she noticed something else.
Taking Them Home
Mikey wasn’t crying because of the fear of being hurt but because one of the puppies had an injured foot. He pleaded with Jody to help, saying he’d been feeding the two stray puppies for three weeks through the fence after finding them wandering the streets.
Jody took him and his puppies back home. Since the pups didn’t have any tags or anyone looking for them, she and her family took them in. It has been years since the family opened their doors to the two fur balls of joy, and Jody is more than thankful they did. It is amazing what we can learn from kids.
Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.