July 23, 2007

Man's best friend

By Kelsey Linden
Staff Writer

“Doing good is not something special – it’s how the world should be,” said 11-year-old Bayan Pineda as he stroked foster dog Miles’s fur.

After viewing a photo of Miles on the Midwest Animal Rescue Services (MARS) web site, Kim Curtis of Delano felt instantly that she needed to foster the dog.

Miles’ leg had been dislocated, and he’s in need of orthopedic surgery. Curtis, who was fully aware of the dog’s pain, still felt the desire to care for him.

Within a week, close friend Bayan Pineda was taking a walk in the neighborhood when he spotted Miles. After hearing that the dog was looking for a home, his face lit up with joy, as he always wanted a dog of his own. Curtis told Bayan about Miles and his leg.

Feeling a desire to help, Bayan began to regularly walk Miles. Since that first stroll down the block, Bayan and Miles and been inseparable.

When she told me about his leg, I knew I was going to do something to help him, I just didn’t know what,” said Bayan. “I showed my mom Miles and asked if he could spend the night.”

Within a day, Bayan opened his own lemonade stand. Due to their quiet neighborhood, Kelly Pineda was disbelieving at first, but under the roof of her son’s persistent determination, she agreed to let him try.

At the end of his driveway, Bayan stood outside with a small stand of lemons and water. A sheet of notebook paper placed at the edge of the table read: Lemonade. Hours and hours in the hot sun, Bayan never gave up. He loved Miles and he wanted to save Miles’s dislocated leg.

“Help the cause! Save Miles!” Bayan would step out into the street and say these very words to every car that passed by.

When first hearing about the Lemonade stand from Kelly, Curtis’s first thought was “no way.” Sure enough, after walking by, Bayan was outside his house with his own lemonade stand.

Kim helped him make some bigger posters and she also borrowed him some folding chairs and tables.

Later that day, Kim contacted all the local radio and news stations. Within hours, a cameraman from Fox 9 news approached Bayan and both he and Miles appeared on the 10 o’clock news that night.

Bayan raised $33 that first day, but this small achievement only increased Bayan’s determination to raise the full $2,000 for Miles’s operation.

“My mom and I talked about it and we decided to try and get a stand on the Fourth of July,” said Bayan.

Alongside Kim and his mother, Bayan worked diligently during the parade to ‘help the cause.’ Along with lemonade, the stand also featured pop and snacks such as Rice Krispies bars.

Between Kelly and Curtis, they tiredly traveled back and forth from the Fourth of July parade to Coborn’s and other local stores. “We kept thinking we were going to run out,” Curtis said. It’s not easy to keep ice cold outside in the summer.

That day, Bayan raised a total of $527.29. When discussing the success of the parade, Curtis said, “People would stop at the lemonade stand and make donations. There were some people from out of town that came to the parade just to see Miles.”

A couple days after the parade, Curtis and her son Brandon walked into Coborn’s to purchase some items for their evening dinner, when the thought of Bayan dawned on her.

She had considered another opportunity for Bayan to help Miles by putting his stand up in Coborn’s. After consulting the manager, both Curtis and Bayan were grateful for the store’s continued support and care.

As a store, Coborn’s does not normally help with rescue groups, but after one look at Miles and Bayan’s passion, their hearts melted. Kim described Coborn’s manager’s words: “What a cool kid to come up with this idea. This kid is such a smart go-getter.”

Before Bayan and Curtis entered his life; Miles’ life took a miraculous turn of events. Literally the day before MARS had taken him in, the dog was scheduled to be put down. Many animals like Miles are not give the second chance to live.

With a happy face like Miles, it’s hard to believe that the dog could be in any pain, but Curtis assured he was.

“Your leg being dislocated is like you or I having our shoulder dislocated. It hurts so much that you’re not going to let anybody touch it,” said Curtis.

Miles’ leg has been injured for too long. For every day that Miles has his dislocated leg, he loses more muscle mass – to which he will never regain.

“The longer he has to wait, the worse it’s going to be at the surgery,” said Curtis. After the surgery, Miles will also need therapy.

“I can’t imagine what he’s going to be like when he gets the surgery. He’s going to feel so happy that he can run and play without the poor leg hurting every time he moved it,” said Curtis.

When recalling the first time she saw Miles on the MARS web site, Curtis said, “The way he was looking at the camera that just melted my heart. There was something about his face and his eyes. They say the eyes are the windows to the soul and I could just see what his heart was saying to me. I called MARS right away, but I knew he had to come here.”

Curtis had hoped that Bayan could adopt Miles, but unfortunately due to Kelly’s allergies, she and Bayan cannot adopt Miles. They are looking for a ‘medium sized’ dog with as little hair as possible. Above all, Bayan wants to ensure that Miles has a good home.

Internally, Bayan has developed such a bond with Miles that he felt Miles needed his help. Bayan also agreed that he could feel Miles’ pain.

“Miles is in pain and I don’t like it when somebody knows somebody’s in pain and they don’t do anything to help,” he said.

Continuing, Bayan also added, “I just feel that everyone should help others. It’s not something special. Everyone just should. I know everybody can do it.”

Adding to her son’s words of wisdom, Kelly also said, “If people help others, that’s what we are all supposed to be all about.”

Knowing that Miles will get surgery and someday be able to walk without feeling pain is an award in itself for Bayan.

This experience has also taught Kelly something great. “We shouldn’t discourage our kids,” she said. “Let them try. I think it’s great that he cares enough to do it and follow through with it. He really put his heart into this,” said Kelly.

Bayan feels a strong bond with all animals – except cats. Dreaming of the future, Bayan can foresee himself owning all sorts of different animals and working as a vet – that is, as long as professional baseball does not fall through.

Feeling a connection with Bayan, Curtis also said, “I’ve always been the animal person in my family. Growing up on a farm; you name it, we had it. I was always was always the one everyone knew to call to work with the animals. I’ve always just been an animal person and just gone the extra mile to help animals.”

Seven years ago, Curtis was heartbroken when she had to put her dog down. It was not until late last December where she felt comfortable and called to foster dogs. Animals can teach a person responsibility. Curtis wanted to pass on this trait to her only son Brandon.

When asked what her first thought of Bayan was, Curtis said, “What and awesome kid. I am just flabbergasted. From a little kid who nobody really takes seriously to the mother who guided him along the way and seeing what has come of this is just overwhelming. I thank God every day for Bayan. He’s just the coolest kid. He’s so well-mannered, so polite. I just have the greatest respect for what he’s done for Miles.”

When it comes to spirituality, Kelly, Bayan, and Curtis all feel that this arrange of events was no coincidence.

“People often question why they’re here and what God’s purpose is for them.  Everyone has a part in God’s plan, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem to themselves or others,” said Curtis. “I know I’m here to take care of animals, whether it’s providing them temporary food, shelter and love in my own home or going on dog rescue mission trips.  We’re put on this earth to put on what we have and that includes those who can not speak for themselves.”

“God’s definitely telling me to do something,” said Bayan. We’ve pretty much just played it by God. We didn’t know what was going to happen, we just trusted.”

“Animals can’t talk. We don’t know what they are thinking. Bayan has been Miles’s voice to get the word out to everybody,” said Curtis.

Bayan gave Miles the second look that he needed and it was through trust in God that it all worked out the way it did. There has been $1,400 raised for Miles and it wouldn’t be what it is today if it wouldn’t have been from the care and determination of a little boy who instead of thinking of himself, thought to help others.

Come in and see Bayan and Miles at Coborn’s Saturday, July 28 from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Bayan will be working with his mother Kelly and Kim Curtis. Hot dogs, brats, pop, and other snacks will be available.

Back to Current Stories Menu | Back to Archives List
Herald Journal
Stories | Columns | Obituaries | Classifieds
Guides | Sitemap | Search | Dassel-Cokato Home | Delano Home | HJ Home