Meet Haymarket’s Jackson Minniear: A Little Boy with a Big Heart


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May 20, 2023

Meet Haymarket’s Jackson Minniear: A Little Boy with a Big Heart

Last December, Haymarket resident Jackson Minniear, 7, was listening to the

Last December, Haymarket resident Jackson Minniear, 7, was listening to the radio and heard a young girl talking about donating dog food to shelters. This piqued his interest because he knew people donated food to shelters for humans, but hadn't thought about animals in need before.

Jackson looked at his mom and said, "Mom, I want to do that for my birthday." When his mom asked him why, he simply said, "Because dogs and cats need toys so they can be happy while they’re in the shelters."

Jackon knew there were many animals waiting for their forever homes that didn't have comforts like a cozy bed, toys, and food (outside of what shelters provide), and he wanted to make sure they got these things.

How did Jackson know this? His family has been long-time supporters of the Middleburg Humane Foundation and a family friend works for an animal shelter in Fairfax. For his birthday, Jackson made a wish list and chose pet items from Amazon. His family friend helped by offering advice.

Jackson's other connections to rescue animals included their family cat, Nubbins, a rescue who had recently passed away. As any pet owner knows, that left an indelible mark on his heart. Jackson wanted to make a difference.

Jackson compiled a list of cat and dog toys. These comprised tug-of-war, squeaky toys, frisbees, cat toys with feathers and balls with bells. He also chose items like cat and dog beds, cooling towels and mats, cleaning supplies, food, and treats. Basically, everything you could possibly need for pet care and happiness was on the list. And shortly after they published the list on Amazon, there was very little left to buy.

8,800 donations came from near and far; Jackson received donations from local friends and family, as well as family and friends who live in other states, some as far as Arizona. The food items were sent to the Middleburg Humane Foundation and the toys, beds, and other comfort items were brought to the Fairfax County Animal Shelter.

When asked why he chose to donate to shelters instead of receiving gifts for himself for his birthday, Jackson said, "Because one day on the radio a Grandpa called in and he said his granddaughter wanted to get dog food to donate to shelters because her birthday is close to Christmas. I thought that was cool so Mommy let me have the whole day to think about it. And instead of dog food I wanted to do dog and cat food and toys."

Jackson's favorite donated dog toy was a squeaky toy that looks like a television remote. Other top picks included a dog toy in the shape of a poop emoji (which made him giggle as he explained why) and a Toy Story toy of Woody. His favorite cat toy was a stuffed piece of sushi.

"This is par for the course with Jackson," his mom, Laura Minnier, said. "From a young age he's had a giving heart. Always keeping an eye out for younger kids to make sure they’re okay. I call him the protector of the people all the time."

Apparently, he's the protector of the animals too.


This feature appears in the June 2023 edition of Haymarket-Gainesville Lifestyle Magazine. You can pick up copies at these locations and read the entire issue here.

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