Big and Little are not just horsing around

Photo of Lexi and Sandy

Horses, dogs, and talking – lots of talking – led to a friendship so strong that one friend says to the other, “You’re stuck with me.”

A love for animals and conversation is the basis for Little Sister Lexi and Big Sister Sandy Patmore’s long-lasting friendship. Their friendship has grown from a school-based match at Plainwell Middle School to one that meets weekly outside of school.
Lexi’s dream of becoming a veterinary technician prompted the pair to transition their Big Brothers Big Sisters’ match from meeting solely at Lexi’s school to a site-based-plus match. As a site-based-plus match, Lexi and Sandy can meet outside of school – most importantly to her, Lexi was able to meet Sandy’s horses. Lexi not only spends time with the horses, she’s learned to feed and water them. She even helps by taking on the undesirable chore of cleaning out the chicken coop.

In addition to spending time together with the horses, the pair credits the transition to site-based plus with deepening their friendship. “We’ve gotten to know each other better and make more of a connection,” Sandy says. “We can spend more than 45 minutes together” (site-based matches generally spend 45 minutes to an hour together each time they meet).

They’ve branched out from hanging out with Sandy’s horses to other activities to further fuel Lexi’s love of animals. Frequently, they volunteer at the SPCA of Southwest Michigan: taking dogs for walks and petting cats.

Lexi says that Sandy has not only encouraged her interest in animals but she makes her feel “very happy.” Lexi knew she could count on Sandy very early in their friendship. “She’s amazing to have in my life. Sandy’s a good listener, and she has a different perspective than my mom. I know I can count on her if I need anything.”

The pair say their friendship will endure as Lexi completes her last two years of high school and moves on to the next chapter of her life.

When asked how long they will be friends, Lexi says, “Forever,” and Sandy says, “You’re stuck with me, sorry.”

Watch below as Lexi and Sandy recount the names of dogs they’ve been during their time volunteering at the SPCA of Southwest Michigan.

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