Kris Papiernik and Kia Griffin’s 5-year-old nephew Shon has a passion for helping animals, specifically cats living on the streets of Philadelphia. As a matter of fact, it's all he wants to do when he goes on weekend visits to Paipernik and Griffin's house.
"We’ve been a big part of his life ever since he was born," said Papiernik. "If he was with us, he was around cats. He follows our lead."
Papiernick and Griffin have spent the past 10 years taking care of over 40 street cats who are too feral to be rescued and transitioned into domestic life. By the time Shon was three, he expressed that he wanted to lend a helping hand.
"We were a little hesitant at first because they're feral cats, and we thought they’re going to run from a rambunctious 3-year-old," Papiernik said.
Turns out, Shon was the best addition to the team.
"It was the total opposite — they just gravitated to him," Papiernik said. "He’d scratch their bellies and scratch their heads. It was amazing to see these cats who wouldn’t even allow us to touch them, but immediately took to him. He must have this magical effect that the cats can pick up."
While the 5-year-old isn't old enough to give out medicine and the canned food to the cats that live with Paipernik and Griffin, he has become an expert in administering dry food, treats and refilling water bowls. Rain or shine, Shon takes every opportunity he gets to take care of the neighborhood cats. Occasionally, he'll even dress up like a superhero to do so.
"Sometimes he likes to dress up,” Papiernik said. “He said it makes him feel like a superhero for animals."
No need to fear, Shon is here! And he possesses one of greatest super powers: compassion. Keep up the great work, Shon!