Angels with Heart stuff animals with care

Organization holds second annual Teddy Bear Hospital at Solano County Fairgrounds

By THOMAS GASE

Eight-year-old J.J. Krauss Jr will be headed into surgery this week to have his tonsils removed. As in any case where it’s a difficult situation, the second grader likes to have his stuffed animal — Yellow — right by his side.

Only problem was that the second-grader’s stuffed animal was sick as well and slowly falling apart from wear and tear.

Thankfully for Krauss Jr, Angels with Heart was there to help rescue them both.

The organization held its second annual Teddy Bear Hospital at the Solano County Fairgrounds on Saturday and were able to fix stuffed animals by sewing them up, adding more cotton, adding a new button for an eye and making them just like new again. The services were free.

Francean said she grew up fixing a lot of her sibling’s stuffed animals, so when it came time for her to do the same for her children she said, “No problem.”

“We have a teddy bear hospital at our house and my 6-year-old (Matthew) asked, ‘Can you fix this?’” Francean said. “I told him that I used to fix my sibling’s bears. We went to the art event last year and we asked each other what we could do to help out and we all agreed — let’s do Teddy Bear Hospital here (the fairgrounds).

“I enjoy doing this. It brings smiles to the kids’ hearts,” Francean continued.

Francean is the Executive Director of the family business, while her husband Dennis is the treasurer and their children Angelina and Matthew are both CEO’s.

In order to not scare the children when their stuffed animals are repaired, the Larsen family goes to the extreme to make sure the kid is not traumatized when it’s opened up and repaired. Angels with Heart set up a booth to look just like a doctor’s office and there was an even a small waiting room for the kids to wait while the animals are repaired.

“We have a little medicine cup and we pour that on to the stuffed animal at the start of the process to say we are putting the animal to sleep,” Francean said. “The kids see the needle then going into the animal to be fixed but we then tell them, ‘Nah it doesn’t hurt. They’re sleeping, they can’t feel it.’ Then we put some more medicine on them when the animal is fixed and this signifies the animal waking up. We then put a little Band-Aid on them so they can see the animal had surgery.”

Although a number of animals, were fixed, Krauss Jr. and his mother Estercarlotte Nelson was one of the most impressed with the services.

“I’ve been following them on Facebook for a while now,” Nelson said. “I was going to surprise him last year and take him, but J.J. got sick. So he didn’t know. When I saw they were doing it this year I jumped at the opportunity because he really loves “Yellow.” He takes him on his appointments and travel. Two years in the making but we’re really excited that he got “Yellow” fixed.”

J.J. said he’s thrilled to have his stuffed animal fixed just in time for the surgery.

“I’m going to be asleep and have my tonsils removed, so it feels really good to have “Yellow” fixed,” J.J. said. “When I was really young I accidentally ripped his ear. But it’s better now, yep!”

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