Little boy surprises parents with birthday wish

According to Good Morning America, 9-year-old Ethan Katz earned almost $3,000 selling T-shirts he designed, and used the money to save 10 dogs. (Photo credit: Good Morning America)

As Stevensville, Maryland boy Ethan Katz was prepping for his ninth birthday last month, he wasn’t thinking about presents or cake.

When Ethan’s mother asked her son what he wanted to celebrate his big day, she says Ethan had a mission instead — rather than asking for gifts, Ethan told his mom he wanted to help shelter dogs.

“I was a little surprised that he didn’t want a toy or some kind of gift or something but this is just who he is,” says Ethan’s mom, Lisa Katz, who appeared on Good Morning America to talk about her son’s kindness.

Ethan tells ABC News he always loved dogs — especially his own two rescue dogs. The Katzes’ dog Brooklyn, a miniature Golden Retriever, was a particular inspiration for young Ethan.

“I have two dogs at home and I love them both so much and other dogs too and my grandmother fosters dogs and my whole family pretty much,” Ethan explains. “If you’re upset, my dog, Brooklyn, will make you feel better every day.”

In mid-May, Ethan and his father, Andy, got to work designing and selling special T-shirts to raise money for Ethan’s cause. Ethan partnered with Booster, a fundraising website run by design company CustomInk, to sell his shirts for $20 a pop.

Between May 12 and June 10, Ethan sold 179 shirts — well exceeding his original goal of 75 shirts.

In total, reports, young Ethan managed to raise an amazing $2,640.39, which allowed Ethan’s favorite pet charity, City Dogs Rescue (CDR) in Washington, D.C., to save 10 dogs from death row.

CDR staff members and volunteers say they are touched by Ethan’s kind gesture.

“I thought it was amazing that a young kid decided to give up his birthday present and in doing so was able to save 10 dogs by gaining support from the community. I think it’s energized our community to see how a seemingly small gesture went a very long way,” CDR Board Member Meredith Raimondi.

Ethan’s grandmother, Sandra Pezzoli, is a foster parent for CDR, and says that Ethan has often helped her care for her foster dogs, walking them and playing with them often. Raimondi thinks it is wonderful to see a family come together in support of animal rescue.

“It’s just really cool how the whole family has really been a part of the rescue, and it’s been really great getting to know them and it’s had a domino effect,” Raimondi says of Ethan and his family.

Would you like to purchase one of Ethan’s T-shirts and help the caring 9-year-old fulfill his goal of saving shelter pets? Check out Ethan’s site and buy a shirt today.

Sources:, ABC News,