Scripps News LifeGood News


Little girl's small donation to dog rescue leads to thousands raised

A 7-year-old decided to donate the money in her piggy bank to a dog rescue, prompting tons of others to match her donation.
Posted at 7:15 PM, Jan 16, 2023

A little girl's kind gesture is inspiring dozens of people to give back to an animal rescue in Portland, Tennessee called A Place to Bark.

The 21-year-old nonprofit is a no-kill foster and adoption rescue dedicated to the welfare of dogs.

"I take them in; I get them well. I work with any behavioral issues, and we get them ready for adoption," said A Place to Bark founder Bernie Berlin.

Berlin said in recent years, volunteers haven't been showing up to help, and it's been difficult hiring new employees. Plus, donations have gone down.

Berlin started the new year off a little sad, until 7-year-old Lila Stephens decided to take all the money in her piggy bank and donate it: a total of $27.25.

Rescue Me: Pets, Adoption And The Challenges Shelters Face

Rescue Me: Pets, Adoption And The Challenges Shelters Face

The pets waiting for adoption in shelters across the U.S. face unique challenges.


The two met for the first time in Franklin, Tennessee for a pet adoption event. Her mom, Samantha Stephens, posted her daughter's kind gesture to social media, and now other people are matching Lila's donation to give to the rescue.

"We had a family friend who lives in Texas just messaged me and said, 'I would really like to match that because that's so sweet she's doing that.' We didn't know Bernie's need. We didn't know she was going to get the donations. Everything came together at a time that made a big difference for Bernie," Stephens said.

Berlin said Lila is such a big inspiration.

"Right now, I have a bill over $1,000, and we spend $5,000 to $7,000 a month to spay and neuter. This month, we had over a thousand, and Lila's little gift turned into a big gift that pays that bill off," Berlin said.

Donations for A Place to Bark are still coming in.

If you would like to match Lila's $27.25 and give to A Place to Bark, you can do so through PayPal, Venmo (@aplacetobark), or mail: A Place To Bark PO Box 649 Portland, TN 37148.

Why we give to charity

Why we give to charity

Today, hundreds of thousands of people donate their time or money to non-profit organizations every year.