Calling All Animal Lovers: How to Celebrate Your Birthday Meaningfully

September 25, 2013
animal charity volunteer on your birthday!

At a pet shelter in Yangju, Korea. We brought these puppies snacks and blankets and spent time playing and cuddling with them.

Currently, I am feeling inspired by a very special day: it comes once a year and it tends to creep up on us without warning. It scares some, it excites others and it positively fills others with dread. No folks, this day is not Halloween–although that was an accurate description of how each one of my family members feels about that day–it’s our birthdays! Weeeee, I love everything about birthdays!

I heard somewhere before that birthdays are for the young. Well, no, technically, the day of your birth is a date that occurs every year, despite your age, silly. This Saturday, I will be 24. I truly do not know how that number is accurate. I know that everyone says things like this but the days truly become shorter every year and the time between birthdays is shrinking. Like brand new sweater on high in the dryer shrinking. This year was a whirlwind of emotions and grand adventures and it turns out that I am a tougher, better chick for it.

For my birthday this year I decided that I wanted to give back to those who have given me so much happiness: animals. Throughout everything, they remain stoic, strong and inspire me to keep going when times get rough and to celebrate like a crazed monkey when times are good (this is an accurate description of my puppy when she is excited.) This stoic, forgiving nature is especially true of farm animals who may have endured things that we cannot even begin to imagine and still emerge kind, patient and so sweet. In light of this, I started a fundraiser on Crowdrise for Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. This organization is incredible and if you are ever in the Woodstock, NY/ Catskills area (between April and October) pay them a visit. Their residents have even been known to turn a few carnivores over to the bright side.

Here are a few ways to give back to the ones we love so much on our birthdays that will make you feel incredible and won’t break the bank:


1. Start a fundraiser.

– It is ridiculously simple to start a fundraiser on Crowdrise. They are linked to thousands of organizations and if the organization you wish to donate to is not linked, you can create the link yourself. People love giving to amazing organizations and it is an incredibly rewarding feeling that just because you turned another year older an organization may be able to fund their operations for another week, month or even years. Go you birthday girl/boy!

2. Volunteer at a local animal shelter (or animal rescue/sanctuary).

– Animal shelters ALWAYS need volunteers. Spend a few hours walking dogs or petting kitties. Go for a run with one or a few of the rowdier pups–it’s a win-win, you get your exercise in for the day and these guys get some fresh air and socialization. Spend some time helping in the office or even organizing donations. Most shelters will be happy with any help they can get, so find your local shelter and call them up to organize a day and time to volunteer.

3. Donate old linens and towels.

–Gather up all of your old raggedy (but clean) towels, sheets and blankets and donate them to your local shelter. There is always a need for towels for reasons such as drying off after initial baths, comfort, warmth etc. If you have some lying around, drive them down to your local shelter and leave them with an employee today.

4. Volunteer at a spay/neuter clinic.

–Humane societies, vet clinics and shelters across the country are always in need of volunteers at their free or low-cost spay and neuter clinics. Help them to help pets live longer, healthier, happier lives while not filling the world with more homeless pets! Contact your local vet office for more information.

5. Join a local therapy dog training group and spend the next year preparing your dog to become therapy certified.

–This is an incredibly rewarding way to spend more time with your pet while helping sick patients in hospitals or nursing homes. To see the smile your pet brings to their faces is incredible. Remember that you must be certified to bring your pet into any hospital or nursing home and rules, regulations and laws differ from state to state, city to city and may even differ between hospitals. Please be sure to check with your local hospital or nursing home before trying to visit with your therapy pet. The ASPCA offers therapy pet certification in New York City and elsewhere.


For any other Libras celebrating their birthday soon I wish you the happiest and most fulfilling one ever! XO

Related: How to Prepare Your Pets for Hurricane Season

5 Animal Friendly Charities for Your Next Special Occasion

Photo: Kate Coffey

Contributing Editor Kate Coffey is the founder of Forever Fascinated Blog, a vegan, the lucky co-parent to Miss Wednesday the Wonder Pup, a French speaking/lover of anything French U.S. Army Wife who is on a mission to spread the good word about living life to its fullest! You can also follow Kate on her Instagram and vegan organic pet treat shop, Wednesday Cafe.


always stay inspired!