One autumn day in October 2005 a two year old was getting ready to celebrate her third birthday. The guests arrived with bags and boxes of all sizes for the birthday girl Jillian ( Pictured on left with Jim Bowen). After the party all those bags and boxes got loaded up into the car and were taken to the Toms River Animal Facility. They were bags of dog and cat food, treats and toys, blankets and cat litter. The staff and volunteers at the shelter greeted Jillian with joy and excitement.
This past October Jillian celebrated her seventh birthday and the guests knew what to do. Every year since her third birthday, Jillian asked for donations for the Toms River Animal Facility INSTEAD of birthday presents for herself. She takes the shelter’s wish list and sends it with the invitation. Jillian’s mom Lisa says, “There has been such positive feedback and response over the years.” The shelter staff and volunteers couldn’t agree more. “Most people don’t realize that animals need a lot of care. Especially animals in a shelter because it’s not their fault they are here. They deserve some extra special treats and toys. It’s so wonderful that someone as young as Jillian understands that,” says volunteer Linda.
Jillian’s love for animals and her adopted dog inspired her cause. “Our dog who is 13 ½ was rescued from a shelter and we discussed with her that the animals at the shelter need items to be taken care of before they are adopted...now [she] fully understands the importance of her charitable mission,” Lisa says. And of course the animal shelter staff and volunteers look forward to Jillian’s eighth birthday next year.