Milla McEwen, 8, recently hosted a “Puppy Party” for her birthday. Instead of presents, guests brought dog food and supplies which Milla donated to the Albany Humane Society. (Staff photo: Laura Williams)
ALBANY — It’s common today for most youngsters to approach birthdays with the questions: “What do I want? What can I get?”
To the surprise of her family and friends, one compassionate Albany girl had a different answer.
Milla McEwen decided that for her 8th birthday, she wanted to do something other than receive gifts - she wanted to give them. So, rather than celebrating in typical style, she requested to have a “Puppy Party.” Instead of gifts for Milla, guests were asked to bring presents for the needy animals at the Albany Humane Society.
“A couple of years ago we started visiting the Humane Society shelter during the summer to help out and the summer before last we adopted a puppy named Galaxy,” Milla’s mother, Tay, told the Herald. “Milla and her brother, Bear, love her, and she’s been such a wonderful addition to our family.”
It was this event that inspired Milla to find out what she could do to help the Humane Society.
“I’m too young to volunteer, but I still wanted to help,” Milla said. “So, I came up with idea for a Puppy Party.”
“She really took charge of what she wanted to do,” said her mother. “She approached officials at the Humane Society and asked them what specific items they needed the most.”
Those items included food, toys and blankets for the shelter’s residents, and after her Saturday party, Milla delivered an ample amount of new supplies to the shelter.
“It’s so encouraging to see young people taking taking an active part in something like this,” said Michelle Barnes, adoption secretary at the Humane Society. “Unless our generation starts evoking an interest in them, who is going to care in the future? We need more people like Milla.”
Barnes said a handful of other young people have made donations, but those gifts are few and far between.
“We had a couple of young girls make rubber band bracelets and sell them door-to-door for $1. They then brought their earnings and donated them to the shelter.
“It’s awesome to see what kids can do.”
As for Milla, she has no regrets. She was rewarded with a special visit with the shelter’s resident cats.
“I had a great time,” she said. “It feels good to be able to help out, even though I’m young.”