Our daughter has one of those birth dates that elicits an, “I’m sorry” from most people. Born the day after Christmas we have made different attempts over the years at making sure she feels like her birthday isn’t overshadowed by the biggest holiday of the year. When she was really young she just thought the whole season was about her. As she got older we would have a small family party on her actual birthday but reserved a celebration with friends until January so people could have a chance to recover from Christmas. This year she turned 5. We contemplated forgoing the party all together and going on a family trip instead. Call it “Mom guilt” or the fact that I like parties too but she talked me into both. I’m going to relish the fact she still wants parties where I’m actually involved and present for as long as that plays out. I’m looking at you teenage years. The simple fact is, having a birthday the day after Christmas may seem like a bummer, but she actually gets more celebrations than the average kid because of it.
That being said, the child does not want for anything. Oh sure, she could point out things in the toy aisle she would like to have but being the only child at home and only grandchild on one side she is…spoiled. We really wanted to take this opportunity to help her gain more self awareness in this department and teach her about giving, charity, and improving someone else’s life. When I asked her about who or what cause she was interested in she said, “I want to help animals.” We went over various options from the Sierra Club, to World Wildlife Fund. While she is very interested in both of those charities I tried steering her to something a little closer to home so she could see the direct effect she would have. Once we decided on The Pet Place – Humane Society of Harrison County we visited their website to see what donations they were in need of.
Simple and straightforward most items could be found around the house (paper towel, toilet paper, towels, blankets, etc.) or easily purchased at a local store (pet food, treats, toys, cleaning supplies). This met our criteria of giving our invited guests a break both financially and time wise when we asked that in lieu of gifts for our daughter could they please join us in donating to The Pet Place. I would like to tell you our daughter did this selflessly and without complaint. That was not quite the case. After we sent out the invites she had second thoughts on not receiving gifts. We didn’t chastise her or guilt her over her feelings. We said we love getting gifts too. We also loved giving gifts because the good feelings and memories you make doing so outlast a toy you will eventually tire of. I’m a firm believer of what you put out in the universe you get back. As the days lead up to her party and we did some shopping for the animals she got on board, picking out treats and toys.
Our invited guests could not have been more generous and a few had already been actively donating to The Pet Place over the years. We loaded everything up the following week and came by on a Tuesday. Our daughter was enthusiastic about telling the volunteers and shelter director, Kay about forgoing gifts to donate to the animals. Everyone there welcomed us and took some photos of her with her donations. I was happy to see how clean and well maintained the building is. We visited the kitten room first and played with a few of the babies. Kay spent some time with us explaining the history of The Pet Place. They have adopted out over 400 dogs and cats in 2018. Vouchers are available to help people get their pets spayed/neutered that otherwise could not afford it. The Pet Place also works with Mission Marshall to provide pet food for those in need. After we got a lot of kitten snuggles we moved on to the puppy room. We played with 4 adorable pups and used all our willpower to leave without a new pet (this time).
We were encouraged to come back anytime and help socialize the animals. The fenced outdoor area has shade and seating, perfect to take some of the older dogs out for playtime.
The Pet Place relies on donations and the kindness of veterinarians to provide care and low to no cost spay and neuter for the shelter animals. If you have never visited we highly recommend stopping by and meeting the wonderful animals and staff. Keep them in mind as a worthy organization to donate to.