Massachusetts’ shelter dogs and cats are gaining an extra touch of cuteness to help improve their chances of finding a forever home, thanks to a young girl’s creativity and love for animals, as reported by WJAR News.

Eleven-year-old Malia Martinez had the idea to help animals in shelters with her sewing after spending time at her local shelter. Unable to have a dog in her home, the young animal lover made it her mission to inspire others to adopt animals in need — by making bandanas for dogs and donating them to the shelter. She hoped that the bandanas would make the dogs look even cuter and encourage families to adopt them, she told WJAR News.

After becoming a more experienced sewer, she found another way to help animal shelters: Martinez now sells bandanas at craft fairs and donates $1 per bandana sale to animal shelters. So far, she’s donated more than $225 to her local shelter. 

The bandanas were such a hit, she soon added her “itty bitty collection” for cats and recently even designed her first bandana for an adorable and tiny companion pig.

With millions of dogs and cats entering shelters in the U.S. each year, shelters need all the help they can get. This young activist’s work goes to show that anyone can make a difference for animals.

Shelters can be a wonderful place for children and teens to volunteer — helping them learn how to properly care for animals and to practice compassion for all beings. Fostering, volunteering to walk dogs, helping clean kennels at shelters, sharing photos of animals in need of homes, and spending time at shelters socializing animals are all possibilities for animal lovers inspired by Martinez’s efforts.

Lady Freethinker applauds this young girl for her hard work helping shelter dogs and cats find their forever homes and encourages everyone to adopt instead of shop when welcoming a new furry family member.