Ask Colt Hopkins what he wanted for his birthday.
“Dog food,” he said, matter-of-factly.
A weird request for a seventh birthday.
But Colt got it — in spades — and Project Hope Humane Society is reaping the benefits.
For two hours on March 20, Colt and his family — parents Doug and Leanna Hopkins, sister Lizzie Hopkins, aunt Joanna Dailey and cousin Jolee Dailey — set up a drive-by donation site at the home of his grandparents, Perry and Sandy Dailey.
Colt’s goal was 100 bags.
They received over 1,000 pounds.
“My mom put a picture of me on Facebook, and they broughted all that stuff down,” Colt said. “I just got really happy. I didn’t think I was going to get as much as I did.”
After seeing it all accumulated, “’He said, ‘That’s gonna feed a lot of doggies,’ ” said Sandy Dailey. “I was amazed at the number of people who stopped and gave money or who came back through after getting a bag of food at the store.”
“He told every individual who dropped off a dog food thank you,” said his mom, Leanna. “We thank everyone for making this an unforgettable birthday for him.”
In addition to those local donations, Colt also received three 40-pound bags from Chewy.com after the company learned of his request.
Colt learned about Project Hope from his mom, who used to rescue dogs. In fact, it was one of those dogs that prompted Colt to be adamant about his birthday wish this year.
“Right before his birthday, he came up with the idea all by himself,” Dailey said. “He said he didn’t really need presents, just dog food.”
“A year before my birthday,” he corrected her of the timeline.
“He did,” Dailey said. “You’ve been thinking about it a long time.”
But this year, it was extra special.
Colt lost his dog about a week before his birthday.
“His name was Chase. He was 15 years old. He went to dog heaven. I haven’t seen him for seven days,” he said. “That’s why I mostly did it for the dog food. Dogs are my favorite animal, wolves are my second and foxes are my third.”
To Colt, Chase was more than a dog; the chocolate lab was a special friend and protector.
“My mom rescued Chase from someone who kept him outside on a chain,” he said. “When I was younger, I went over (to the lot next door), and the thing I was riding on died, and he was walking with me, and my mom and dad didn’t know, and he kept barking and barking and barking and pushing me toward the yard (away from the road).”
So when they got their donation to Project Hope last Saturday and the shelter was closed, Colt was a little disappointed.
“I wished they were opened, but they weren’t. The last person just left right when we got there.
“I thought they were going to give me a free dog,” said the first-grader, who attends Unity Elementary School, disappointment still ringing in his voice.
Does he want another chocolate lab?
“Uh-yeah!” he exclaimed. “A baby one.”
But he’d also take a fox and a wolf … and a bloodhound.
Colt officially turned 7 on March 23. And he did get some toys. And he used some of his birthday money to purchase cat food and gallons of water for Project Hope. But he still wants more dog food to help the shelter feed all the dogs that don’t have a forever home.
“They really need a lot of bags of dog food or money to get all that dog food to help feed them,” Colt said. “I’m taking all the bags that I can.”
Those who would like to help Colt assist Project Hope are asked to make donations in Colt’s honor at the shelter.