Boy helps animal friends on his birthday

John Thompson • Updated Aug 13, 2019 at 8:38 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Jackson Franklin is celebrating his fourth birthday today and it is the climax of a big week for the young man. Not only is he celebrating his birthday, but he started his first day of school on Tuesday. He is enrolled in pre-kindergarten this year. To top it off, his kindness and generosity to animals was featured in local newspapers this week.

Jackson loves to visit the dogs and cats at the Elizabethton/Carter County Animal Shelter and one of his deepest hopes is that all of them can find a loving family to adopt them. He cares so much about the animals that he made helping them the focus of what he wanted for his birthday. Instead of asking for toys or candy for his birthday, Jackson asked for something that might help his animal friends find a home.

He told his parents, Tim and Cassie Franklin, that he wanted fabric for his birthday present and he wanted his grandmother, Wendy Wright, to sew the fabric into bow ties for the dogs and cats so they look their best when someone comes to the shelter looking to adopt a pet.

Jackson may be too young to have heard about “dressing for success” but he is already well known for the snappy bow ties he wears every Sunday to church. Jackson was asked how he started wearing bow ties and he could not remember, but his mom said he loves superheroes and once received a bow tie that had images of superheroes on the tie. It started his sartorial elegance.

Soon, his grandmother Wendy was making bow ties for him to wear to his church at Southside Christian and his style was set. Cassie said Wendy also makes bow ties and collars for dogs and cats, so this was something he knew his grandmother could handle. She made about 50 bow ties for the animals.

Animal Shelter Director Shannon Posada said one cat has continued to wear the bow tie around its neck ever since Jackson presented it.

This is not the first time that Jackson has taken on a project to help the shelter. Last Christmas, he started a campaign collecting baskets and food to help the dogs and cat through the winter.

Of course Jackson has his own dogs at home. There is a Schnauzer named Chewy and a mutt named Sookie. Cassie said Sookie is Jackson’s best friend.

All the fabric for the dog and cat collars means Jackson will have a few less birthday presents this year, but his best present would be to see a lot of his friends at the animal shelter gone to permanent homes. That would be pretty good for a 4 year old.