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Dog attack victim honored by SPCA

Ian Himmelstein, 8, of Manorville, with his French

Ian Himmelstein, 8, of Manorville, with his French Bulldog, Jewel. Himmelstein, who is battling leukemia, donated money to the Suffolk County SPCA, as well as other generous acts, even after a dog bite left him with more than 20 stitches on his arm. (April 13, 2012) Photo Credit: Alessandra Malito

Ian Himmelstein was left with more than 25 stitches on his arm after a German Shepherd bit him in October.

But that attack didn’t change how much the 8-year-old loves dogs.

And after seeing a commercial for the ASPCA, the Manorville boy decided he wanted to help his local SPCA. So he put about $30 and a letter in an envelope and sent it to the Suffolk County SPCA, where it was left on Chief Roy Gross’ desk.

“When I saw the letter, I thought this is unbelievable,” said Gross, who went to Ian’s Manorville home last week to give him a certificate from the SPCA. He was accompanied by Legis. Edward P. Romaine, who gave him a proclamation.

Ian’s letter was handwritten, with a drawing of a cat and dog.

“Thank you for taking care of these animals,” he wrote. “I am sending money for animals without homes. I will send them something special to enjoy. P.S. You are good citizens.”

Ian also sent dog biscuits with his donation.

“They’re starving,” he said of homeless dogs on the streets, as he pounded his right fist into his left palm. “They need to start taking care of animals so they’re not stuck in kennels or on the streets.”

Ian is like many typical 8-year-olds and enjoys math, doing arts and crafts, cooking and baking cookies. But he is described by many as being selfless and brave -- and not only because he was attacked by a dog.

Ian, who was diagnosed in October 2010 with leukemia, goes to Stony Brook University Cancer Center for his chemotherapy treatments and will continue doing this until December 2013.

“He’s a trouper,” his mother, Gina Himmelstein, said. “He’s doing better with it than he thinks he is.”

Last year while at the cancer center, he saw someone who had been given a negative prognosis. The 14-year-old and his family wanted to go on a trip before he was too weak, so Ian took the $200 he had saved up and gave it to the teen.

“You need this trip more than I do,” his mother remembers her son saying as he handed the money over. “He’s always thinking of others. He’s the one with the ideas and I just help facilitate it for him.”

Ian said his one wish is that people follow his lead and donate to a local chapter to help homeless dogs.

“I’ve seen so much abuse and neglect and it’s so depressing sometimes when you can’t understand why people do what they do to animals,” said Gross. “It’s such a pleasure to do something like this, meet someone like this, with all the horror and tragedies that are around us, and then you get a kid like that.”

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