Two Girls Got What They Wanted for Their Birthday: Gifts for Homeless Pets

For many families, when it comes to birthdays and holidays, finding a gift for the “kid who has everything” can pose a problem. Two girls who recently celebrated birthdays decided that they had enough “stuff” in their lives and opted to ask friends and family to think of homeless shelter pets, instead of traditional birthday gifts, at their birthday parties.

Anneke, who lives in Iowa, celebrated her birthday in October. Rather than having friends bring gifts to her for her birthday, she asked them to bring a donation for an area animal shelter.


On Saturday, Anneke’s mom, Melissa, took the donated items (food and treats) to the Cedar Valley Humane Society, a shelter in Cedar Rapids which cares for over 2,000 animals each year. Melissa told Shelter Me:

We met with the director.   He was so informative and had such great things to say about their work.  They adopt over 2000 animals a year. It was a really rewarding day!!

On the same day that Anneke and her mom delivered gifts to the Cedar Valley Humane Society, Lauren was celebrating her 18th birthday hundreds of miles away in Washington State.


Though Lauren and her friends did many “traditional” birthday party activities, they also spent much of their time doing things that most 18-year-old kids wouldn’t think of doing during a party. Those in attendance at Lauren’s celebration spent time baking homemade dog cookies and tying polar fleece blankets. Lauren had requested that her “gift” for this milestone birthday be fabric for the blankets, rather than another “thing” for her personally. The completed items will be delivered to an area animal shelter this coming week.


Good job girls – you are learning early in life that the best gifts are those given, not received.

Penny Eims

Penny is a freelance writer who provided content to her National Dog News column at for 8 years. She is a current contributor to Fido Friendly Magazine, as well as a newly formed website, Pet Rescue Report. Penny is married and she has two rescued German shepherds and two kids.


  1. Celeste says:

    I wish that there were more kids in the world who cared like this.

  2. Ranny Musy says:

    What a wonderful girls, bless your hearts for caring, you’ll grow up as intellegent human being with a huge heart…hat’s off to their parent who raised such a beautiful girls inside out….bravo…keep up your great work little angels….
    Lots of love from Malaysia…

  3. Jennifer whilt says:

    I love hearing these kinds of stories about kids these days!! These girls are making a difference! They are inspirational!! I hope my kids have parties like this!

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