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Boy asks friends to bring treats for pets rather than birthday gifts for him

March 16, 2009

Invitations to Joseph Edleblute's pirate-themed fifth birthday party had unusual instructions for the attendees.

Instead of bringing a gift for Joseph, everyone was to bring an animal-related item that would be donated to the Humane Society of Washington County.

On March 5, the day after Joseph's birthday, he and his mother, Patty, delivered the goods to the shelter.

His mother gave insight into her son's motivation. "Joseph has two cats that he loves, Hannah and Rudy. Hannah was adopted from the Humane Society and Rudy adopted us. Joseph loves both of them and he really wanted to do something for the animals. I think he accomplished that."

Joseph's party was held at the Lovettsville Community Center, where he attends preschool.

Paul Miller, executive director of the animal shelter, was very impressed by Joseph's gesture. "Instead of asking for the newest toy, video game or movie, Joseph asked for gifts that he would never play with," Miller said. "He really did make his birthday special for himself and for the homeless animals in his community."

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The Humane Society is at 13011 Maugansville Road in Hagerstown. Go to www.hswcmd.org on the Web for information on animal-related issues, directions to the shelter and information about programs and services.

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