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Girl asks for items for animal shelter instead of gifts

September 19, 2009

When Gracie Billman decided on a theme for her fifth birthday party, she told her mother she wanted a luau complete with hula girls on the cake. When asked what she wanted for her presents, she said, "Toys for the animals at the shelter."

More than 30 partygoers helped Gracie and her mother, Ashley, and brothers, Michael and Matthew, celebrate her birthday over Labor Day weekend.

Gracie's wish was fulfilled when many of her friends brought toys, animal accessories and food for the animals at the Humane Society of Washington County.

On Sept. 8, Gracie, accompanied by her mother and brother, Matthew, and aunt, Wanda, brought in armloads of items to the shelter.

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When asked what inspired Gracie, her mother said, "Well, she loves her own dog, Chief. She wanted to help those animals that weren't lucky enough to have someone to hug and play with."

Gracie quite literally grew up with Chief who turned 5 years old Sept 8. "They are the best of pals," Ashley said. "He is a wonderful dog."

The Humane Society is at 13011 Maugansville Road in Hagerstown. Call 301-733-2060 or go to www.hswcmd.org, for information on animal-related issues, directions to the shelter and information about programs and services.

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