A nine-year-old boy went without Christmas presents this year – and instead asked Santa for donations to a dog shelter in Manchester.
Mum Sarah Ferris was shocked when her kind-hearted son Mikey proposed a few weeks ago.
He has always loved animals, having grown up with pet rabbits and has an affinity for canine companions.
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Sarah, from Tyldesley, Wigan, told the Manchester Evening News : “I always grew up with animals and so did Mikey, but he loves them the most.
“Whenever he is sad, he asks to go to his grandmother to see her dog.
“It always makes him feel better – dogs have a way of comforting him.
“But I was surprised when he wanted to donate to a dog shelter for Christmas.
“When he went to see Santa Claus, he asked for pet food and told him all about his plans.
“Santa Claus seemed surprised because children don’t usually ask for this stuff.
“I’m very proud of him and so lucky to have him.”
Mikey filmed a short video asking his family and friends to send him donations for Christmas.
Sarah shared it on Facebook and they received donations of dog food, treats, blankets and a bed.
The carer helped give Mikey an overview of local dog charities and he chose Manchester and Cheshire Dogs’ Home.
She shared how proud Mikey was to make the donation.
“He said he wanted to make a difference for the dogs who will have nothing to wake up to on Christmas Day.
“Mikey was so proud to take on the donation and do it for the dogs.”
Mikey added: “I did it because I love animals and had thought of [donating] a few weeks ago.
“I wanted to bring some kindness into the world.
“I love dogs and the best thing about them is the love they give.”
Steve Mapley, center manager at Dogs’ Home, said: “It was lovely to hear about Mikey and his desire to help dogs, it’s amazing that a young man is so caring to get across the others and the dogs before him at this time of year..
“We always try to give each of the dogs a Christmas present, so this [donation] means we can make sure they all get something.”
On Christmas Day, Steve gives all the dogs a Christmas present with their Christmas dinner – this year they get chicken, vegetables and toppings.
The center currently cares for around 60 dogs, which Steve says is “pretty quiet” compared to pre-pandemic numbers.
It’s been another tough year at Dogs’ Home, with the ongoing pandemic putting a halt to the usual fundraising efforts.
Steve said: “Fundraising as it was, has pretty much stopped. We haven’t been able to move around the community like we used to for two years now.”
Despite this, Steve told us that this year has been better than the last, with the center adapting its adoption process, allowing dogs to be rehomed more quickly.
But the home has seen a significant increase in the number of young dogs being abandoned by members of the public.
Steve explained: “A lot of these dogs are used to being with people. Some were taken in during lockdown so were never left alone.
“When people had to start going back to the office, they realized just how committed a dog can be. Balancing working full-time and having a dog full-time – and the demands that a dog imposes on you – can be difficult.”
But donations like Mikey’s can make all the difference.
The House of Dogs accepts donations cash, blankets (no duvets or pillows) and food.
People can donate by calling the house on 0300 102 1212 and arranging to come and drop off. Donations can also be made at reception or by phone.