HARLINGEN — Guests who attended Giselle Benavidez’s 11th birthday party were asked in advance to not spend on presents. Instead, Giselle was asking for dog food.

Giselle is a dog lover and owner of a Chihuahua mix named Peanut. Her intention was to gather the dog food and donate it to the Humane Society of Harlingen.

“She had asked the year before that for her next birthday, she would be asking for dog food.” her mother Ericka Benavidez said.

“I asked her if that is what she really wanted and she said yes. We made her invitation where we asked for dog food instead of presents,” Ericka said.

Her mother then created an invitation with a big sunflower with a picture of Giselle wearing an otoscope and Peanut stood. It read “Giselle is asking for a bag of dog food instead of presents, to donate.”

Giselle was able to gather 223 pounds of dog food that she later took to the Humane Society.

“Everyone was happy when we arrived and they were really excited by how much food she brought,” Ericka said.

“They allowed her to see the animals that she was helping and that made her really happy,” she said.

Giselle said she wants to become a veterinarian in the future, which is in part what inspired her to help the dogs.

“I really like dogs a lot and I thought they would love to have more dog food,” Giselle said.

According to her mother, Giselle is a big animal lover who always wants to help out.

“If it were up to her, she would take every stray we see in the streets, but we can’t,” Ericka said.

“She has a huge heart and her doing this instead of getting presents was something we never expected.”