Simple act of kindness brings joy to Livonia 4-year-old who lost favorite stuffed animal

Posted at 8:49 AM, Apr 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-08 14:36:15-04

(WXYZ) — There’s nothing quite like the attachment of a child to their favorite stuffed animal – whether it’s a bear, pig, bunny or any other kind of furry creature, they love it like a best friend.

For 4-year-old Leo of Livonia, his best friend is a stuffed puppy named, well, “Puppy.”

“He is like totally obsessed with it, takes it everywhere. It goes swimming in the pool … it goes on vacation, goes with him every time we leave the house. He is super attached to it,” said Emily Sudekum.

Photos courtesy Sudekum family

So in mid-March after visiting the doctor's office and running some errands, sadness set in after Emily and Leo discovered Puppy was gone.

“I called every store, nothing ... we went back up to Meijer. We went through the whole store and went through the stuffed animal section, because they thought he might be there. And then we called 7-Eleven, went back up there. No luck at all,” said Emily.

But for Leo, just any old other stuffed animal wouldn’t do.

“He was emotional for two days. He was crying, he wouldn’t sleep. He wouldn't do nothing,” said Emily.

Desperate to cheer up Leo, Emily posted in the All Things Livonia community Facebook group asking if anyone had seen her son’s beloved missing stuffed animal. At first, no luck. But then, Emily said a woman from West Bloomfield reached out.

“She was like, ‘hey, my kids have one that they would … love to give to your son,’ And so thankfully, she was amazing, and she actually showed up like three hours later at my house with the stuffed animal,” said Emily. “She drove the puppy all the way to my house and her two kids actually gave it to him.”

Leo’s joy, Emily said, was instant.

Photos courtesy Sudekum family

“His whole face just lit up. He was super excited, you know, like he was snuggling. He does like that ... half cheese smile where he just ... holds it close and like smirks,” said Emily.

It may seem like a simple gesture to some, but to Leo, it was the world.

“It was so nice. I was like, ‘you're such a great person, you have no idea, you know how much it meant to him.’ She was like, ‘Oh, I know, my kids were like that too with their stuffed animals.' Yeah, it was super sweet,” said Emily.

She said Leo and Puppy are now back to their old antics.

"That's what he kept telling everybody, 'oh yeah, he [Puppy] had to go to the doctor's,'" joked Emily.