Instead Of Presents For Her Birthday, This Little Girl Wants To Save A Dog’s Life

Instead Of Presents For Her Birthday, This Little Girl Wants To Save A Dog’s Life

Mary Padilla loves dogs. LOVES them. She loves them so much, in fact, that she decided that all she wanted for her fifth birthday was to help a shelter dog in need. (Well, all she really wanted was a dog of her own, but since it isn’t in the cards just yet, helping a dog find a home was the next best thing.)

Mary’s mother, Heather, wanted to make this wish come true, so she reached out to local non–profit rescue organization MCPAW (partner of Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center) to find out what they could do to help.

Her email began:

“My daughter is turning 5 in June, and LOVES dogs, even though we don’t have one, and don’t have the proper space for one (someday!). We’ve been talking with her about her birthday present and she has decided she wants to help a lonely dog get a home. So we would like [to] sponsor the adoption of a waiting dog.”

Karen Gerken, Executive Director of MCPAW, immediately spoke with Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center (MCASAC) to come up with three dogs “in need of a boost to help get them adopted.” She then sent Heather and Mary pictures and descriptions of the dogs, and Mary chose Bailey.

Mary volunteer

Bailey is a 1–year–old Cane Corso mix. She has been at MCASAC since March along with her four siblings. They had lived their first year of life in a basement, barely getting out or socializing with people. Due to this sad introduction to the world, they were fearful of everything from grass to doorways, and especially new people. Fortunately, they have all made a lot of progress, and Bailey became ready for adoption just in time for Mary’s birthday wish.


While this was an incredibly sweet gesture on its own, what’s a birthday without a party?! Mary had a “puppy-themed” birthday party where she asked her guests to bring items from the MCPAW wishlist to donate in lieu of presents for herself (her idea!). The invitation read: “Please bring a gift for the lonely dogs that don’t have a home.”

To top it all off, Heather made her a dog-shaped cake, which Mary asked to be painted brown like Bailey. Mary picked out a stuffed moose to give her canine friend and even drew some pictures of her.

Donation collage

When asked what prompted Mary to do such a wonderful thing, her response was:

“I love doggies so so much. [I want all the dogs at the center to have] a big house and a big backyard and then they can woof to say they’re happy in dog language.”

Mary chose Bailey out of the dogs because she wanted a girl dog, and because Bailey is brown like her “stuffed lovey dog, ‘Wupsy.'” Heather told us that they have been back to MCASAC a few times since her birthday to see Bailey and say hi, and Mary talks about her frequently. Imagine how happy she will be once Bailey finally finds her forever home!

Cake Bailey

Karen Gerken told BarkPost, “It was really impressive how Mary and her family were interested in helping a dog in need and not just one that was cute looking.” (We think that Bailey is pretty darn cute though, especially with that lip curl.) Even more impressive is that while a lot of 5–year–old kids would be asking for toys and treats, Mary was selflessly thinking of homeless dogs and how to help.

dog cake

MCPAW already has some incredible programs in place, like their Amber Care program that pays adoption fees for older and/or special needs dogs, similar Purple Care program for cats, and their Spay It Forward program. Gerken told us that after being inspired by Mary’s act of kindness, the Westwood Pet Center in Bethesda, MD, has approached them to start sponsoring an adoption per month as well!

Baiey tummy

Bailey is ready and waiting for her forever home. While Mary and her family would love to have a dog of their own, they know that they don’t have the proper space or time to dedicate to one just yet — but they hope they’ll be able to in the near future! Bailey will require a very patient owner to gain her trust and make her feel safe, but as you can see in the video below she is already doing well and learning some of her basic commands.

She isn’t great with kids, unfortunately, so Mary didn’t get to meet her outside of the kennel, but that doesn’t stop her from loving Bailey and wanting her to find a home all the same. With the Padillas covering her adoption fee, all that’s left is to find that perfect forever home. Could you be the one?

Please consider helping MCPAW continue to do the important work they do in rescuing, educating, and providing spay/neutering to the public by donating here. Be sure to follow MCPAW and MCASAC on Facebook to learn more about what they do and see what other wonderful animals they have available for adoption. Mary and her family hope this inspires those who cannot adopt a dog to sponsor an adoption instead like they have. Let’s help make Mary’s birthday even better by adopting pets and helping shelter dogs find homes!

Featured Image via: Heather Padilla/Photography For A Greater Good & MCPAW