my $5,703 birthday party.

I did it. I threw myself a birthday party and spent all the money you donated. But before you totally write me off, let me explain who came and what the party was all about. As you may know, for my 30th birthday in lieu of gifts I asked for donations to buy a bed for every dog at Chicago Animal Care & Control. You guys really came through. I mean, I knew buying all 225 beds would be a stretch, but we surpassed any expectations I had.

I never considered myself good at fundraising, I hated (and still do) asking for money from friends/family/internet friends. Not everyone shares the same passion as me for rescue pets so it’s hard to put myself out there. Previously, my friend Lephan and I raised money for animals affected by Hurricane Harvey last year. It was my most successful fundraiser, we raised a little over $800 and I was so proud of ourselves.

When I kicked off this campaign, I had a personal goal of $2,500. This was more than three times as much as I’d ever raised before and it slightly overwhelming. But I knew I wanted to make a big impact for the big 3-0. Originally, I only had the option to purchase an entire bed, which, at an average price of $100, was a tough sell. Luckily, my friend Jes came up with the brilliant idea to have a donation link through her organization Real Dog Moms of Chicago. People could donate whatever amount they felt appropriate and we could buy beds as a collective group.

After two weeks of bugging people and encouraging donations, we raised $5,703. Holy moly. You guys, I was so incredibly touched. More than 100 people donated to my fundraiser. I saw each and every donation and my heart grew a few sizes over the course of the campaign. People were beyond generous with their money and I was humbled day after day. I cried more times than I ever care to admit and I’m so appreciative of every penny.

Now when I first started the fundraiser, I assumed the beds would arrive assembled and ready to go. El oh el. These beds are the Ikea of dog furniture. With 56 beds ordered, Jes and I offered to host a bed-building party at CACC to help put some beds together. Again, I sent out a plea for anyone interested in helping and we got a tremendous response. 15 people volunteered their Sunday afternoon to hang out and build beds with us. When all was said and done, we assembled 58 beds.

My $5,703 birthday party at Chicago Animal Care & Control  - Rescue in Style

Susan Russel, the Director of Chicago Animal Care & Control said it best when she said, “Ay Kuranda! Thank you everyone who contributed to the bed drive for the shelter’s dogs. Slowly they are getting assembled and placed in kennels. Big Boy who came in as a stray with sores all over including his feet loves snuggling on his new bed.” If that doesn’t bring tears to your eyes, check for a pulse.

After we finished building the beds, we were able to see our handiwork put straight to use. We walked around CACC and saw so many dogs enjoying their new beds. No longer did they have to sleep on blankets on the concrete floor, they are able to get a comfortable, snuggly place to curl up every day while waiting for their forever home.

Thank you to everybody who made my 3oth birthday my best birthday yet. These words I’ve written cannot express the deep gratitude I feel. Cheers to a new decade of helping our four-legged friends.


Sol - Rescue in Style
Photo credit: Josh Feeney

While touring CACC, we were introduced to their longest resident, little miss Sol. Sol came in before Christmas as a stray. She’s about six years old, spayed, and loves giving kisses. A few of the bed building volunteers asked why she was still at CACC. I explained that while I didn’t know her very well, she’s a typical large, older, pittie mix with lots of energy. She doesn’t love other dogs so she’s looking for a very special fit. She knows her basic commands and takes treats so nicely. Sol is patiently waiting on her new bed for the perfect family to walk through those doors. To see all the details about this gal, click here.


I wasn’t able to get a full on photoshoot with my tee, but don’t worry, I’ve got one coming up. You can shop this Rescue all the dogs tee at The Gentle Pit. Remember, a percentage of your purchase will go towards helping Chicago rescues!




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4 thoughts on “my $5,703 birthday party.”

  1. This makes my heart SO full! I had a couple happy tears reading this! And lol “ikea of dog beds” hahaha! Such a kind thing for you to do for these wonderful animals! Congrats on a successful birthday!

    1. Thank you Kimber! I so appreciate you taking the time to read my posts and all the support you’ve shown, including your super generous donation 🙂

  2. Jared R Hocking

    This is amazing!!! What an incredible idea and the pups at CACC thank you for their comfy new beds. I wish I would have been following your blog at the time since I totally would have contributed and helped you make the beds 🙂 Hopefully there will be another time.

    1. Thanks so much! There will be plenty more opportunities to volunteer and donate in the future! Thanks for reading and the kind words!

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