Identical twins Etta and Isla Putch

A birthday wish to save homeless animals

Identical twins Etta and Isla Putch forgo birthday presents to help needy animals

Balloons. Cake. A grand pyramid of gifts. Those are some of the images we see when picturing children’s birthdays.

It’s not always the case though, and when identical twins Etta and Isla Putch turned six recently, they went against the entire birthday norm.

Instead of asking for a pony, a bike, a 20-pound Lego set, or all the other gazillions of gifts two six year olds might want for their birthday, the girls wanted something completely selfless: a rescue party to save homeless animals.

Instead of gifts, they just want to raise money to get their furry friends off the streets and into a warm place full of love and food.

“They came to me and said, ‘Mommy, we’re not gonna do presents,’” said mom Tara Putch, adding the girls all their  kindergarden friends bring cat and dog food, leashes and harnesses, kennels, toys or a cash donation to support their cause.

“I’m really proud of them, because it’s really selfless to do such a thing,” she said. “I hope it grows into something bigger, because it will help them see that one selfless act can help many.”

So far, the twins have chosen the Broken Promises Rescue charity as a starting platform, but if they manage to raise enough money, they’ll also donate to the Vets for Pets, a volunteer network in Victoria of veterinarians who aid and support homeless and low-income pet owners.

Putch also works at a vet clinic, and the family owns four pets, all of whom were rescued animals, so it’s easy to see how helping animals in need is a big deal.

Still, Putch said the rescue idea and the initiative came from her daughters, not the other way around.

“They just felt like that was the right thing to do.”