12-Year-Old Boy Hosts A Volunteering Birthday Party At A Local Cat Shelter!

Written by: Adri Sandoval
Adri Sandoval is the Special Projects Manager for iHeartDogs and iHeartCats. Her work has deepened her love for animals, fostering a strong passion for rescue and animal advocacy.Read more
| Published on March 14, 2016

When you think of a boy’s 12th birthday party, you imagine a bunch of rowdy kids playing, wearing party hats, eating cake, and the birthday boy opening a mound of presents.

But when Ayden Hammons of Chisholm, Minnesota turned 12, he asked two of his friends, his brother, and his cousin to join him at the Precious Paws Animal Humane Society for a day of…volunteering!


Ayden’s mom, Danelle Hammons, said that the young philanthropist came up with the idea on his own.

“I said, ‘I’ll call [the shelter] and find out if it’s possible.’ And sure enough it was,” Danelle told iHeartDogs.

“The lady [at the shelter] said,  ‘I don’t know what to do with them;’ I told her, ‘Put them to work!’ because that’s what Ayden wanted,” she told us.

Volunteer 1
Courtesy: Danelle Hammons

The five kids spent Ayden’s birthday, sweeping, washing dishes, folding laundry… 

Volunteer 6
Courtesy: Danelle Hammons 

…and, of course, playing with the cats!

Volunteer 3
Courtesy: Danelle Hammons 

In lieu of birthday presents, Ayden wanted the gifts to go to the animals, and they provided the shelter with tons of essential supplies.

Volunteer 2
Courtesy: Danelle Hammons

Danelle told us that a few months ago, Ayden lost a furry friend of his own. His selfless birthday celebration may have been his way of giving back to the animals who make such a big impact in our lives.

“He just lost his dog Lady, a Boxer, in October, so I don’t know if it’s helping him grieve, to help other animals,” she told us.

Ayden and Lady (1)
Courtesy: Danelle Hammons

While Danelle says they aren’t planning on getting another dog (they already have two at home!), after volunteering at the shelter, they’re considering adding a feline to the family.

In fact, Ayden was particularly fond of multi-colored tabby named Coral, who he met on his birthday. Perhaps she’ll be the lucky one to find a forever home with Danelle and her thoughtful son!


Way to go, Ayden! What an amazing example you are to both kids and adults–don’t ever change!

Volunteer 4
Courtesy: Danelle Hammons

Special thanks to Danelle Hammons for letting us share this wonderful story.