I hope you, the reader, were able to read this column last week as I introduced you to ten year old Harmony “Bean” Womack, a 5th grader at Cypress Elementary. To say that Bean loves animals is an understatement. This week I pick up where we left off.
Bean and I came to find that we each have an older dog that is more than likely in the final stage of their life. I asked if she had ever put a dog to sleep and she said no. The thought made her sad but being the intriguing child she is, and believing that she will one day be a vet; I asked if she knew how a dog was put to sleep. She said no but kept a look on her face as if she was open to learn. I looked toward her mother who gave me no signal to stop, so I explained the three stages. Bean didn’t look away, she didn’t flinch, she just listened in the same way I believe she will in the future as she learns her profession.
Bean is an outgoing child and I wanted to hear her views. I asked what she thought about people who were mean to animals and she adamantly stated that she didn’t like them. I then asked if she liked animals or people better and she quickly said animals. I couldn’t agree with her more on both counts. She also recognizes and supports spaying and neutering of pets stating that when people don’t, there are too many animals to take care of properly. This theme is central to Bean, the importance of taking care of animals.
She is also concerned about the care of her fellow human beings. In addition to her animal club, Bean also started “Saving Souls” a program where she collects lightly used shoes (souls) to be given to the Pima tribe in Arizona where she has done mission work. Her newest project involves making homemade dolls to be given to children undergoing cancer treatment at St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. This understanding comes from having spent time with a cousin during that child’s unsuccessful battle with cancer.
Bean understands an animal’s place in Southern Illinois nature. She hunts and learned the importance of being a good shot from a bad first experience. Her first attempt at deer hunting did not leave a good memory. The doe did not die right away and Bean now feels very strongly about being a good shot, something she practices.
She is currently working on a design for new t-shirts to help raise money for her club. I asked what three things she would do if she had all the money she needed. She answered that she would love to have a clubhouse where she could hold her meetings to teach more people about how animals live. She would like to have her own no-kill animal shelter but would put an animal to sleep if their quality of life could not be guaranteed. And finally, she would love to help as many people as she could to learn about how to take care of animals. I think she will; I’ll think she’ll do that and a whole lot more. Turtle salute to Bean!