Clayton BarnardThis story is sad and heartbreaking but touching.  Far too often I write stories, absolute horror stories about today’s youth, killing and abusing innocent animals but here’s a story of a teen who loved animals, one stray in particular, so much that he lost his life trying to save the dog’s.

Clayton Barnard of Bienville, LA, was a pretty typical 13 year-old boy. He loved outdoors and a day off school meant a day of fishing with a buddy and a stray dog that had attached himself to Clayton.

Clay and his friend were walking along the road, on the way to a store to get worms to go fishing at a nearby pond. A woman who knew the boys stopped to give them a ride and they hopped in the open back of the truck. As she was pulling off the shoulder, the little stray, described as a terrier mix, hopped out of the truck and Clay went after him.

Family friend, Jeff Howard wasn’t surprised that Clay went after the dog. “From my understanding, it was a stray that he liked,” Howard said. “It was a pretty dog. It was hanging around with him.”

Clay’s friend hollered out to warm him about the oncoming truck but Clay was more intent on getting the little dog than anything and didn’t hear his friend.

“As soon as the dog jumped out, he jumped out and the truck was there. He bailed out to get the dog. He didn’t see the dump truck coming. It happened just that fast,” said Howard.

The dog survived but sadly, Clay did not.

Now named “Little Man,” a nickname that his aunt always called Clay, the dog is now staying with his aunt.

This story is sad and heartbreaking but it’s also touching in its own way. So many stories of teens with so little love and compassion, like the 16-year-old that drowned two defenseless puppies during a home burglary, or Cheyenne Cherry who burned a kitten alive and is facing sentencing today or so many others, and then you have this young man, who lost his life saving a dog, just a nameless little stray that had attached itself to him.

My heart goes out to his family who lost this wonderful young man, a young man who had a bright shining future ahead of him.  There are no words but may his last action be a tribute to him, to his selflessness and love for animals.  I know nothing more about him except that but to me, that in itself says volumes.

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