Six-year-old creates dog toy boxes for strangers to use in the park

If the coronavirus pandemic has got you down, look no further than St Helens, Merseyside for a show of human kindness. Six-year-old Joshua Forster has gone viral after coming up with an ingenious idea to help out local dog lovers in his community by putting together waterproof boxes full dog toys. The youngster, who goes on walks after school with his aunt Ainsley Corrigan and her two dogs , Puggle Rex and Frockapoo Luna, came up with the plan during a rainy afternoon. So that dog owners don’t have to carry wet toys home with them – or for owneres who perhaps can’t afford more than a few toys for their pooch – Josh scrambled together his pocket money, and with the help of his aunt, installed plastic boxes filled with up to 10 toys across two parks in his area.

The news was shared on Facebook, where others are praising the young boy for his kind gesture.

Some are even offering gifts in return, including Amazon vouchers from an appeciative stranger and Crufts tickets by The Kennel Club.
Joshua, his aunt Ainsley and their two dogs posing in the park together with the toy box
(Picture: Kerry Elsworth/Mercury Press )
‘Every chance Josh gets, he comes round to my house to see my two dogs or asks if they can go to his for a sleepover – he tells everybody that they’re his dogs!,’ said Ainsley, 27.

‘I walk the dogs with him after school and one time it was a wet and rainy day and we were thinking that there should be a box to leave the dogs’ toys in when they’re a bit soggy.

It's certainly unpleasant to take your dog outside when it's snowing or raining, but don't forget that dogs' paws are just as sensitive to heat as human skin.

‘From then on Josh was determined to get a box, so we got lots of dog toys and a plastic box with his pocket money and put it on the hill of our local park.

‘It lasted a couple of weeks before it was broken, but when I showed Josh a picture he just said “oh well, let’s just make another!”

‘Someone messaged me personally and said how much Josh had touched her heart and she couldn’t stand to see him upset about the broken box, so she bought a new one and filled it with toys for Josh to take back.

‘Since then, the response has been incredible – a man from London saw the post and sent an email with £30 worth of Amazon vouchers for more dog toys and an extra £25 for Josh to treat himself.
Joshua running with a dog toy in his hand in the park
(Picture: Kerry Elsworth/Mercury)

‘I told Josh about the vouchers and he said “maybe if we just use it all on the dogs, because going to the park with them is a treat for me”.

‘I’m so proud, it’s so nice to see – every day I get a message about the boxes and he’s now got a proper hand in business.’

The plastic boxes can be found at entrances of Queen’s Park and Thatto Heath Park, so that others can spot it before they head in, and the lids read: ‘Feel free to use one for your furry friend but please return it in the end’.

Limit treats to training rewards. This is an excellent way to make sure your dog views treats as special rather than expected. It’s also helpful in keeping your pet from becoming overweight or obese. Feed a species-appropriate diet, and partner with a holistic or integrative vet to maintain your pet’s well-being.

On his Facebook page, that his aunt help him set up, Josh has received hundreds of messages from well-wishers sharing donations – from money to toys and boxes – to help him carry on his project.

But he still pays for it out of his own pocket, too, by doing tasks around the house and earning pocket money from his family.

Joshua holding up toys from his plastic toy box
The six-year-old loves dogs (Picture: Kerry Elsworth/Mercury)

His aunt has also contacted the local council, with hopes that they will help the pair place more boxes in other parks, and Josh wants it to become a nationwide initiative.

Ainsley said: ‘His family are all so proud of him and ask him questions every day about where he’s going to go with it next – he’s on a big doggy mission.

‘He’s very business-minded and his mum and dad are business owners, so it must run in the family – he’s always coming up with new ideas for the boxes.

‘He’s hoping others across the UK see the idea and do it in their own park, he would be chuffed to see something like that.

‘I hope everyone sees that it’s such a small gesture but it’s a big reward for him, it would be nice if everyone got involved.’

Train your dog for a lifetime of obedience. Behavior problems are the number one reason dogs are relinquished to animal shelters, the number one reason they don’t find new forever homes, and as a result, the number one reason dogs are euthanized.

Josh’s mum Natalie, 31, added: ‘We are all so proud of Josh – it’s amazing to see that the bond he has with his Auntie Ainsley and her dogs has managed to become recognised within the community through such a lovely compassionate gesture!

‘I’m lucky to have both a son and a sister who show everyone that it’s nice to be nice, something we definitely need more of in the world!

‘I would also like to thank everyone for the support he has received so far.’

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