11-year-old raises money for shelter animals with annual dog wash

5:02 PM, Aug 26, 2022
7:22 PM, Aug 26, 2022
Audrey Maioho

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — There's an 11-year-old girl who has become a favorite among the animals at the Humane Society of West Michigan.

Bubbles, for one, loves the regular visits as she waits for adoption to live out her life with a loving family.

"Like, look at Bubbles. People are gonna hardly think she's ever going to get adopted and then there's gonna be that loving home for her," says Audrey Maioho.

That's part of her mission, as she seems to have found her calling in life.

"I just loved helping things around me," she says. "If we don't help things around us, this world will not go very far."

But it's Audrey's work outside the shelter walls that has made the biggest impact on the animals inside.

For four years, Audrey has organized her own dog-wash fundraiser.

It raised a couple hundred dollars the first year, a little more the second, but its third year it raised about a thousand dollars.

"I thought it was going to be a one-off thing,” her father says. “It was just gonna happen one time and then every year around August, ‘Hey, we're going to do a dog wash.’ That's her summer."

Audrey's family all thought that 2021 record would be hard to beat — but Audrey tore through it like a plush toy and raised more than $1,500.

She took the money — and a wish list from the humane society — and went on a major shopping spree.

"The entire truck was just loaded with donations, which is really exciting," says Brianna Shahly, marketing and communications coordinator for the Humane Society of West Michigan. "The fact that an 11-year-old girl was like, ‘I'm gonna do this all on my own and I'm gonna raise over a grand’ is really impressive."

Audrey washed about 16 dogs, but it's her passion and drive to help that inspired others to give.

She even had a friend set up a lemonade stand to contribute.

"I think it's neat to see it's spread with younger kids,” says Susan Maioho, Audrey's mother. “I mean, a lot of the times we expect adults to do things like this, but to see younger kids step up and say, ‘I'm gonna make a difference.’"

And it's that difference made that has made her Lake Michigan Credit Union’s Pay It Forward Person of the Month.

Her donations are already being enjoyed by the animals, like Bubbles, who has a new bed.

"It makes her happy and does something here,” says Patrick. “I mean, it does make a difference."

"It makes me feel awesome,” says Audrey. “It makes me feel like I made a difference and I am able to inspire people. I was … it was just shocked."

It’s not every day an 11-year-old makes such an impact on the world around her and responds to the appreciation in return with such grace.

"I'm just really shocked right now and I want to thank everyone out there who has been supporting me over these last years that I've been doing my fundraiser, so thank you," says Audrey.

As the FOX 17 and Lake Michigan Credit Union's Pay It Forward Person of the Month, Audrey will receive $550. She already told the humane society she's giving some of it right back to them.

Know someone who should be our next Pay It Forward Person of the Month? Nominate them here.

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