MARYVILLE, Mo. — Two years after the death of Baylee Nicole Hilsabeck, her family members honored her memory with donations to the New Nodaway Humane Society.

Monday, Feb. 4, marks the second year that Grady, Lisa and their daughter Malainee Hilsabeck have collected items and funds to help the shelter. The family organizes a drive for items and funds to help the animal organization because animals were very important to Baylee and she used to volunteer her time at the shelter.

“We figured out she had over 10 species of pets in her lifetime,” Lisa said. “She was alive for 16 years.”

Grady said she’d have had a lot more if they hadn’t said “no,” a couple times. But that didn’t stop Baylee. Grady told the story of a field mouse Baylee kept secretly in her car for a while. He’d gotten in her car to move it once, and there he saw little mouse droppings. After talking to one of her friends later, they got the full story. She’d caught a little field mouse, gone to show it to her boyfriend and it jumped in the car.

“She’d leave a cup of water for it and food,” her mother explained. “We didn’t know that.”

Baylee had fish, a bird, a rat, hamsters, dogs, rabbits, snakes, cats, a snapping turtle, horses and bottle calves.

“Literally she would sit out in the pasture and they would lay down and she would pet them,” Lisa said.

“I said, ‘Baylee did your calves get out?’ She goes, ‘I let them out,’ Grady explained. “She said, ‘I sit out here and read while they eat … they’re not going anywhere.’”

Lisa said she had a window sill full of frogs and that Baylee each one.

Baylee’s pet rat Shadow used to frighten people when they came to visit. Lisa said she’d call it and it would come running right up to her. It sat on her shoulder and would run up people’s arms if they reached out to it, terrifying some visitors, Grady explained.

“The only thing we didn’t let Baylee get was a sugar glider,” Lisa said. “It had a lot of equipment that was needed. It was nocturnal.”

Still in their home are two of Baylee’s cats, which Lisa said are quite well fed.

This year the family and community members raised $4,000 in memory of Baylee, which is just about double last year’s cash donations. The family also collected a lot of supplies: wet and dry cat food, paper towels, disinfectant, litter, bleach, toys and scratching devices.

“This always is so helpful,” said Wendy Combs, NNHS director. “We use the bleach on the floors. The disinfectant, the girls use that when the cats are sick. She used to love coming in here.”

The Hilsabecks took part in a suicide prevention walk and had new shirts made in memory of Baylee.

“I thought let’s wear those today,” Lisa said. “We’re kind of making a scrapbook to keep memories of it every year and also Lainee’s keeping a tally of how we’re doing with it.”

She said they started a Facebook donation page, and within 24 hours reached their first goal of $1,000. Lisa believes she raised the goal at least four times because they met it each time.

“It was amazing. I was honored and blessed,” Lisa said while fighting back tears. “That’s like the one thing I want to keep her memory alive. … I’m sure her spirit’s here.”

On Monday, 119 people had donated $3,875 in 14 days in memory of Baylee Hilsabeck. To donate to the shelter in honor of Baylee Blessing Day 2019 visit https://bit.ly/2UJpPoX.

The shelter also has set up a reoccurring donation site. For more information, visit www.newnodawayhumanesociety.org.

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