OGDEN -- There isn't much Michael Haag hasn't done for a 3-year-old girl and her family this year for Christmas.
The 34-year-old and his partner, Nick Jahsman, 33, each gave up their own Christmases for the small family.
Then they solicited donations from friends and family, as well as a handful of area businesses.
The recipients are a family Haag happened to meet on-line while shopping for used Christmas lights. He was attracted to an ad the family put out asking for help with some toiletries.
It soon became apparent that the family needed more than what they were asking for.
"We needed to do more than toilet paper and soap," Haag said.
"We believe in the Golden Rule," he said. "You give good out. It comes back. You give it out again. It's a passing on."
As he got into it, Haag said he wanted to give more and more to the humble family that lost their washer and dryer and other furniture during the few weeks he was working with them.
"There's no price for a kid waking up on Christmas with a huge smile," he said. "She'll say 'Santa didn't miss my Christmas this year.' "
He said the little girl explained to him at their first meeting how Santa couldn't find her house last Christmas.
That comment led to a dedicated effort by Haag and his partner. They purchased and collected a room full of toys as well as other essentials for the struggling family.
They also received donations of a washer and dryer, furniture, a Christmas tree and a host of other items the family could not have otherwise afforded.
And the sacrifice couldn't have made Haag and Jahsman happier.
That's because the two wanted to pay forward a tradition Jahsman's late grandfather had of providing Christmas to a family in need each year, as well as a sacrifice someone made for Haag.
In October, Haag received the gift of a mastiff puppy, which he now uses as a service dog.
Haag said he needed Bynx, his now 4-month-old female mastiff, because he has a psychological disorder that has led to panic attacks, which have kept him from leaving his house.
"I was a shut-in forever," he said. "My partner was getting so worried."
Haag takes anxiety and seizure medications but he needed additional help in order to go out in public. Bynx was the missing ingredient, he said.
"Every day with her is a gift," Haag said. "She's just awesome. She's just changed everything."
Haag said he had researched his disorder and was pretty sure such a dog would be able to help him. He became a member of a mastiff board on-line.
That's how the dog's previous owner found Haag and ended up giving him the dog.
He got the puppy in October and after some training and some shots, she was ready to go to the store with him for the first time in November.
"It was like a weight taken off," Haag said of the first time he went into a store alone with his new dog. "There were so many times that I thought 'I'm never going there again.' "
While he admits that going anywhere with his dog slows down the trip a great deal, Haag said he doesn't mind because it keeps him calm and feeling like he can stay in control.
"Everyone wants to pet her and love her and stuff," he said. "She's so big. She can attract people. It forces me to talk to people."
Haag said those he meets in public talk to him about his dog, rather than about him, which serves to keep him from becoming overwhelmed.
But he has tended to be a bit overwhelmed the last few weeks as he's made a huge effort to help that family of strangers he met on the Internet.
"I've learned that the more you give, the more the 'want' to give emerges and it almost seems like you can't give enough," he said in an e-mail message. "If only you could manufacture 'giving' into a drug -- the high from it, I'm sure, is better than anything out there in the world!"
Haag hopes to start a nonprofit organization after the first of the year so he can continue to give to those in need.
"I've learned so much from this experience," he said, explaining that he wants to keep going in his efforts to help those less fortunate than himself.
Those who wish to help Haag in his future efforts or to donate to the family he is helping this year may call him at 801-737-6418.