DENNISVILLE – Missy Grace is self-hosting her 28th birthday party Sept. 9 at Dennisville United Methodist Church social hall. She's asking those who attend to bring a present, not for her, but for dogs and cats at the Cape May County Animal Shelter.

The event will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. at the church on Main Street, Dennisville.

"Instead of a present, I'm asking all of my guests to bring a non-monetary donation for the animal shelter," said Grace.

Those gifts may include treats, toys, food, blankets and towels for shelter creatures.

"This is my way of being able to help," said Grace, “I'm not physically able to help them."

Grace said she had collected donations in the past and gotten good results without hosting a party.

"I've seen other people do the same thing and figured this is my way of being able to help. A lot of people are not familiar with the shelter or what they do. They believe it's just a shelter, but they also provide training for dogs," said Grace.

She hopes that someone from the shelter can be present at the party, and perhaps bring one of the dogs that can be adopted.

"I'm also printing profiles of the cats and dogs from the website they have. I will post those profiles around the social hall in case there are potential adopters," said Grace.

The granddaughter of Robert and Judy Grace of Dennisville, Missy "technically" owns a rescue cat that "adopted" her grandfather. He said the cat bonded with him and now is like a member of the family.

"She is a black cat with white on her chest and belly. She was found about five or six years ago in a dumpster. Someone had put her and two siblings in there. The other two did not make it. She was malnourished and, at 4 months old, was pregnant. She had been set on fire, and her tail was badly burned so that the vet had to amputate it," Missy Grace continued.

"We started out fostering her, and gradually it turned into she was not allowed to leave. We love her. We adopted her; she is the most lovable cat you would ever want to meet. She was adopted through the Cape May County Animal Shelter," Grace concluded.