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She asked an older neighbor to watch her pets. His letter of gratitude is everything.

When older people get lonely, interacting with pets can be a game-changer.

Sometimes when we're in the younger, busier time of our lives it's easy to forget—or not even realize—that our elderly friends and neighbors might be lonely. But very often, people who have long been retired, who may have already said goodbye to many of their friends or who have physical limitations that make it difficult to get out to visit people can find themselves alone most of the time. Feelings of loneliness can lead to depression and other health risks, in addition to simply being not very enjoyable.

A viral Reddit post offers a good reminder of this fact, but in the most heartwarming way.

Reddit user u/SnooCupcakes8607 shared a photo of a typed letter with the caption: "I went on a vacation 2 weeks ago, and let my neighbor babysit my pets. Shortly after I got back home, I received this letter from him in the mail that made me smile and cry. I’d like to share it here."


"Good afternoon," the letter begins. "This letter is regarding your vacation two weeks ago, and how you let me babysit Smokey, Oreo, and Jennifer. I'd just like to give you a letter of thanks."

(The letter doesn't specify what kind of pets Smokey, Oreo and Jennifer are, but the original poster later shared that they are a German shepherd, "the crankiest little beagle you’ve seen in your life," and a cat named Oreo.)

Then he continued:

"As you know, I'm an old man. You don't see me outside often anymore, as these joints aren't as lively as they used to be. To add to that, two years ago, in the midst of the pandemic, my dad got diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. After his death, I was left alone in my home. I don't have a wife or kids. I could go to sleep one day and never wake up again. Every day is just sitting around and wondering what I have done for this world.

Until I met Smokey, Oreo, and Jennifer.

Your pets are the cutest, funniest, and most troublesome (In a good way, don't worry, they didn't mess up my house too much!) individuals. They gave me the motivation to restart my life again. I started waking up early in the mornings. I began to take walks outside with your pets for the first time in years. Every 10 minutes, whenever I felt sad for a second, they would bark or rub against my leg and make me laugh.

The highlight of their stay was when I took them to the park. It was the longest time I've spend outside in a while. It didn't just bring back pet interaction, I also met other people, started talking, and made friends with a handful of fellow human beings. I was so happy to finally be able to talk with friends again, interact with others, and feel like I'm part of the human race.

I realize I sound very existential right now, but I'm telling the truth. It's nice knowing that I'm doing something for someone, even if it's my neighbor.

I adopted two dogs soon after. (You may have been hearing noise from my home, pardon them!) I now take regular walks to the park with them and talk with friends I made there. Anyways, I'd just like to say: thank you so much. You brought back meaning to my life. And that's all that matters.

Sincerely,

Robert (P.S. I think it's time for you to mow the lawn, haha!)"

People absolutely loved Robert's letter—and Robert himself, judging from some of the comments:

"Robert is a national treasure and I take anything less to be an insult!"

"I wouldn’t just mow my lawn, but Robert’s too. Forever."

"Robert really is the good in all of us. He must be protected at all costs."

Some people related to Robert, having found a new zest for life after getting pets of their own. Others joked that the whole letter was just an elaborate, "Midwest-nice" way to tell the poster their lawn needed attention. Some doubted the veracity of the letter, but even if it's not real, the comments from people sharing how their elderly loved ones had been helped by neighbors sharing their pets with them show that animals really can help people who are lonely find more connection and purpose in their lives.

It's a good reminder to check in with older folks around us and to share the joy of our pets with people who might be lonely. You never know whose life you might touch with your furry friends.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

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