Most six-year-old boys want footballs, basketballs or the latest video games for their birthday gifts. Rason Bentley wants to help the animals being housed at the Yukon Animal Shelter.
Rason, who turns 6 on Dec. 19, hopes to provide pet food, blankets to keep them warm, and toys for the animals.
And he’s teaming up with Pets and People as well as the Canadian County sheriff’s office to make it happen.
Rason, who is autistic, filmed a video recently asking for donations to help the animals.
It was posted by his mom, Ashlee, and has gone viral with more than 7,500 views.
Ashlee Bentley said earlier this week that her son likes to visit the animal shelter to show love to the “homeless” dogs and came up with the idea of gathering items for the animals.
It is carrying on a family tradition. She said the family often feeds the homeless in downtown Oklahoma City.
“I want to help them,” said Rason, as he sat on bench with his four-year-old sister Teagan and petted one of the animals from the Pets and People Humane Society.
Ashlee said Rason likes to visit the shelter at least once a month play with the animals
“He loves dogs,” she said.
Rason, who is a kindergarten student at Parkland Elementary, has a therapy dog at home that helps with his autism as well as emotional issuses, she said.
“I think that’s where his love of dogs comes from,” she said.
She also said she is proud of her son.
“It makes me so proud. He is so selfless. Despite the autism and his anger issues, he has an enormous heart for animals. He always wants to give,” his mom said.
Meanwhile, Edy Bauer, a spokesperson for Pets and People, said she was pleasantly surprised by the gesture.
“This is awesome. We don’t know exactly what will come in, but a $500 donation already has been made because of the video,” Bauer said.
In addition, people have made donations through the sheriff’s office as well as Pets and People.
“It is such a sweet thing. It is so heartwarming that he would give up his presents. Kids love toys, kids like presents, and to give up their presents and spend time with the animals, and bring them the presents is just crazy good,” Bauers said.
She also said she was surprised by how quickly the event developed.
“They did this video themselves for their friends and family. It was not a planned PR thing for them or for us. It just went crazy,” she said.
Bauer said monetary donations always are needed to support things like the payment of veterinarian bills and to help with additional adoptions. However, the program also could use things like canned food for both dogs and cats, as well as dry food, such as brown kibble.
Collars and toys also are welcome.
Bauer said Pets and People has rescued more than 1,200 animals so far in 2018. Since the operation began in 1995, that number is closer to 50,000.
Donate to Rason’s birthday wish financially, you can visit the gofundme website and search for Rason’s Birthday Wish. For donations of food, blankets or toys, you can private message Ashlee Bentley on her facebook page. Donations also can be left at Pets and People or at the Canadian County sheriff’s office in El Reno.