Samantha Coppedge just turned 7, but instead of presents, the only thing she wanted for her birthday was to help out the animals in need at her local shelter.
With the help of her parents, Laurence and Jessica, she contacted the director of the newly built Jessamine County Animal Shelter, Mike Cassidy.
Together they planned a birthday party where the guests brought donations of toys and bags of animal food instead of the traditional presents.
“I just wanted to do something to help the puppies and kittens that don’t have a home,” the birthday girl said. “I love animals.”
The Coppedges are “definitely an animal family, and Samantha is an animal kid all the way,” Jessica Coppedge said.
At their home in Wilmore they have two dogs, Bucky and Marmaduke, one cat named Scooter, about 15 fish and an art farm.
Samantha Coppedge had at least 18 of her friends and their parents show up Tuesday to celebrate her birthday for the very first party held in the new shelter’s community room.
Cassidy and his staff gave tours of the shelter to all the children and even had a few special events planned including puppy painting. Staffers brought out young pups and water-soluble paint and let the puppies put their paws in the different colors to create art.
“It makes some really nice paintings,” Cassidy said. “We sell them too, and it’s actually very popular.”
After the kids and puppies were thoroughly covered in paint, they were let out to a side yard with a kiddie pool to splash around before Samantha’s birthday cake was delivered.
In all, her birthday brought in several bags of dog food for the shelter and was an overall success, according to the shelter’s staff.
“This was much better than we original thought,” shelter manager Nicole King said. “I’m very happy how well this turned out for everyone.”