No Gifts, Please. Just Compassion.

Two boys celebrate their birthdays with an act of giving for homeless pets.

Posted in , Mar 9, 2015

Aaron (left) and Adam Homman. Photo by Carrie Homann.

Two boys in Illinois did something quite remarkable on their birthdays. They didn’t ask for presents and toys and fancy favors. They wanted, instead, to do something to help homeless pets.

When 11-year-old Adam Homann and 8-year-old Aaron Homman planned their joint-celebration, they decided that they didn’t need any more stuff for their birthday–they’d been reading Matthew 6:19–Do not store up treasures on earth.

So they asked guests to bring some food or toys for the local animal shelter. They opted for helping the shelter because that’s where they’d adopted their beloved pet guinea pig, Charley, and because the boys “felt compassion for the animals without the love of a family,” their mother, Carrie Homann, said.

In addition to Charley, the family has a beta fish named Rocket. They would love a dog, but after much thought, concluded that their schedules and lifestyle didn’t fit with the demanding needs of a dog at this time.

Guests arrived at the party toting colorful gift bags full of guinea pig food, dog food, treats, toys and grooming supplies. Adam and Aaron were so excited opening the gifts, thinking of how the items would help the animals.

The idea originated a few years ago when Carrie, who home-schools the boys, was teaching a lesson in compassion. She wanted to make the point that it wasn’t only words, but also actions that mattered.

That year they asked guests to bring new or gently-used books to their party. Their goal was to collect 200 books, and they ended up collecting more than 800! They donated the books to the local hospital, and to other families in need. Each year since, the boys have continued to practice compassionate giving on their birthdays.

After the party, Adam and Aaron delivered the goodies to the shelter. They took time to visit with the animals but resisted bringing any home.

Such good deeds truly show that the boys have learned their lesson on compassion well.

Since March is Adopt a Rescued Guinea Pig Month, this is also a great opportunity to share that dogs and cats are not the only animals you can find at your local shelter. If you’re considering a small pet such as a rabbit or guinea pig, check with your shelter or Petfinder

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