Krystal Machado is a proud mom of first-grader, Avery. She and her friend, Lea Lopes share the same birthday week and wanted to celebrate together. Although instead of throwing a traditional children’s birthday party, these selfless girls chose to host the event at an animal shelter.

“I was stumped at first because the ASPCA was not offering parties due to COVID,” Machado said. “I called and emailed a number of places to see what could be done. I had donated to Forever Paws over the summer and gave them a call. They were so on board and accommodating!”

Beverly Andrade is the treasurer of Forever Paws Animal Shelter’s board of directors. According to her, Machado called Gail Furtado, president of Forever Paws, to see if this could be arranged.

“Schools have contacted us about tours in the past, but we’ve never received a request for a birthday party before,” Andrade said. “This was a first, but I hope it won’t be the last.”

Since Forever Paws shares a partnership with Bajah's Cat Café in Tiverton, Furtado reached out to Amanda Souza-Viera from the café to create a plan. Cats at the café are from the shelter, looking to be adopted. The group of nine kids and their parents would spend an hour at the shelter for a tour before heading to the café for pizza, desserts, and playtime with the cats.

Seven classmates joined the girls at Forever Paws on Sunday, October 3. They were wearing their matching party dresses, ready to celebrate the big day. In lieu of presents, the girls requested that the guests make a donation to the shelter. Donations were made in both cash and products that would serve the animals including food, toys, blankets, and cat litter. The tour was led by Andrade, a former elementary school teacher. The shelter offered “doggy bags” for the kids which included bracelets, coloring pages, bookmarks, and pencils that had the Forever Paws Animal Shelter logo on them.

Forever Paws Animal Shelter via Facebook

During the one-hour tour, the kids formed a human chain and walked through the kennel as the dogs barked loudly around them. They made a few new furry friends as they were introduced to the animals that they were helping to support that day.

“We lost the parents by the time we made it to the other side because they were still looking at the dogs in the kennel,” Andrade said. “The adults enjoyed themselves as much as the kids. Maybe even more so. If someone contacts either one of us, we will definitely try to schedule another birthday party,” Andrade said. “It really was such a great afternoon.”

Aside from all the fun that was had, it's the act of kindness these kids showed that really stands out.

“We are so proud of the girls for forgoing birthday gifts in order to support the shelter,” Machado said.

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