Woodbury girls divert birthday bucks toward dog-rescue effortsEarlier this fall Lake Middle School seventh graders Skyler Zilles and Amy Haslerud had only one thing on their birthday wish lists – charity.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
Earlier this fall Lake Middle School seventh graders Skyler Zilles and Amy Haslerud had only one thing on their birthday wish lists – charity.
In lieu of birthday presents, Zilles and Haslerud requested that all 52 of their friends who attended their combination birthday party bring with them a donation to either the Animal Humane Society or the Stillwater-based golden retriever rescue organization Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota (RAGOM.)
“We knew we already had so much stuff, so we thought it would cool if we had people bring stuff for the animals,” Zilles said. “It feels cool to help out.”
Zilles and Haslerud raised roughly $400 for the two organizations from their birthday party. The girls donated about $100 in cash to each organization and then used the remaining $200 to purchase various items for the animals including food, treats, toys, beds, leashes and collars.
“We went to the humane society and we got to see a lot of the dogs,” Zilles said. “It was just really fun.”
Zilles and Haslerud said they decided on the Animal Humane Society and RAGOM as the organizations they wanted to donate to because Haslerud’s sister frequently volunteers at the Animal Humane Society and Zilles’ family rescued its golden retriever Rainey from RAGOM.
Haslerud also has two dogs – a papillon named Sammy and a Shetland sheepdog-border collie mix named Tucker.
RAGOM sent the girls a letter of gratitude shortly after receiving the donations. In the letter, RAGOM thanked the girls for their donations and informed them that many of the donated items will go directly to a golden retriever named Hope and her 10 puppies.
“It’s a great feeling knowing that the dogs will be happy and enjoy the stuff that we got them,” Haslerud said.
Zilles’ mother Susan said she was impressed with the girls’ decision to forego birthday gifts this year in favor of helping the animal shelters.
“I don’t think there was any resistance that they weren’t spending the money on them, they were excited to be spending it on the animals,” she said. “They are both obviously passionate about animals.”
Zilles and Haslerud said they might do a similar project for their next birthday since it feels so good to help.
“Other people have so much stuff that they don’t need,” Zilles said. “That’s why we kind of felt that we should do something for other people or animals.”