The Washington Times-Herald

November 9, 2012

A 'doggone' helpful birthday

Teen asks for donations for Friends for Animals

By Andrea McCann
Washington Times Herald

WASHINGTON — A generous act of giving by a Washington teen recently made a big impact on Friends for Animals in more ways than one, and the young lady’s parents hope others will be inspired by their daughter’s thoughtfulness.

Lily Durnil, the daughter of Trig and Susan Durnil, turned 13 on Nov. 6. When Susan asked Lily what she wanted to do for her birthday party, she was surprised by the response: Lily asked to have her guests bring a donation for Friends For Animals instead of a gift for her.

“She asked if she could do it. To be honest, I was almost in tears,” Susan described her reaction to Lily’s request. “Lily loves animals. For her to be so selfless, she’s just an amazing young lady. She would do anything for an animal.”

Apparently the apple didn’t fall far from the tree, as the saying goes. Susan said the family has fostered animals for Friends for Animals, and they have rescued several pets through the organization. Eight of the family’s nine cats, two of their five dogs, and two of their three horses were rescued. So, to Lily her birthday party plan was no big deal. It was all low key, her mom said. Just part of her way of life.

“I love animals,” said Lily, who also has helped out around Dr. Jon Clark’s veterinary office. “I’m too old to get presents, but I didn’t want to do nothing, so I decided to give to an organization.”

So on Nov. 3 the Durnils hosted a bonfire and hayride for about 30 kids. She received “all different kinds of collars, leashes, feed bowls, sweaters, tons of bags of food, treats, bones, blankets, beds, a feed container, grooming supplies, toys” and about $38 in monetary donations for the dogs and cats being fostered by Friends for Animals.

“(My friends) thought it was nice, and they really helped out a lot with supplies,” Lily said. “I’d really like to thank my friends for bringing the supplies.”

The Durnils delivered the donations to the Friends for Animals group at its Nov. 5 meeting.

“The group couldn’t believe that it happened, that a young girl that age had that much caring and giving that she’d donate every bit of her birthday,” said Gary Mattes, who coordinates the rescue transports for the organization. “It was a pretty good size. It was a fantastic thing she did.”

Friends for Animals fosters dogs and cats in need of a permanent home until they can be adopted or sent to a rescue that will find them adoptive homes. Currently there are two cat foster families and four dog foster homes. The group also assists local pet owners who may have fallen on hard times and need help feeding their pets, according to President Georgina Williams, so the sizable donation Lily and her friends made will be put to good use.

“She really surprised us the other evening,” Williams said. “I can’t recall getting a surprise that size.

“She just turned 13 years old and decided that instead of gifts for her, she wanted people coming to her birthday party to bring things for animals.”

She said Friends for Animals members attending Monday’s meeting couldn’t believe it.

“They were elated,” Lily said with a smile. “They were glad I did something like that because they’re always in need of supplies.”

In addition to supplies, Williams said, the organization always needs foster homes. She also said monetary donations are always needed to buy food or kitty litter when it runs out and to pay for medical expenses when, for example, a dog gets hit by a car and the owner can’t be located or perhaps doesn’t have the funds for veterinary care.

Susan hopes Lily’s idea will prompt others to do the same type of thing. Already, Lily’s younger brother, Noah, wants to do something similar for his upcoming birthday.

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Friends for Animals meets at 6 p.m. on the second Monday of every month at Washington Carnegie Library. Meetings are always open to the public.