FOR most nine-year olds giving away your birthday presents would prompt people to ask whether you are barking mad.
But young Caitlyn Bamford is no ordinary girl.
The Grade 2 pupil at Collegiate Junior School, celebrated her birthday this weekend, and instead of birthday presents for herself she asked the 12 friends she had invited to the party to bring dog food.
Yes, dog food for the furry friends at the Animal Anti-Cruelty League (AACL) in Cleary Park.
“What is so wonderful about her idea was that is is all her own, we did not prompt her to do so,” said Caitlyn’s mom Deborah.
Deborah said each year she gave Caitlyn and her younger sister Juliet the choice of their parties and this year Caitlyn decided to have a puppy party.
“She was adamant she did not need any more toys,” said Deborah.
“I really like dogs and wanted to do something for them,” said a very chipper Caitlyn.
“I heard about Animal Anti-Cruelty before and we got my sister’s dog there,” she said.
All the party decorations, including balloons and the party packs were paw-themed. She even had a beautiful cake with four dogs – a dalmation, golden retriever, poodle and German shepherd – made out of icing on top.
Caitlyn said it went down a treat.
“We have to make sure our animals have food and water, and also love. That is why I shared my party with the animals.”
AACL spokeswoman Linda-Louise Swain said she was overwhelmed by the gesture.
“It was fantastic. I was astounded as we usually have the older folk who do not want presents, who have done this in the past, but never such a young little girl.
“The party was fantastic. We were there and took along some of the foster puppies for the girls to give some love to. I gave a small talk about the work we do,” said Swain.
She said the food was almost immediately distributed to the foster homes, and some allocated to the spayathons held at the centre at the weekend.
As for Caitlyn, her little sister is going to try and outdo her. Juliet has a Hello Kitty party planned for her October 30 birthday, and it is cat food that will be on the gift list.