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9-year-old Willmar girl aims to beat local Humane Society's fundraising goal herself

Kate Barrett-Murphy is a fundraiser.

She's 9 years old, but she's a fundraiser.

Last weekend she decided to collect some money for today's Mutt Strut event at Robbins Island in Willmar.

By Wednesday night, she had raised $1,120.55 for the Humane Society of Kandiyohi County. Kate planned to continue going door to door until this morning.

After classes at Roosevelt Elementary School in Willmar -- as well as gymnastics, swimming, dance and piano classes -- Kate's older sister, Brielle, or other family members accompany the fourth-grader on her nightly visits to different Willmar neighborhoods.

Brielle -- who contacted the Tribune about Kate's one-kid campaign -- reports that Kate made a drawing of a dog that shows how much money she has raised.

"It has a tail that goes really far," said Kate, the daughter of Shannon Barrett and Justin Murphy of Willmar. "There's a zero and it goes all the way up to $1,000."

The dog she drew has pointy ears like Breeze, her Pomeranian-Shelty cross. "But that dog is brown and my dog is black," Kate explained.

As donations grew, Kate had to rethink her goal and redesign her poster. She added a bone and a blue ball to measure contributions beyond $1,000.

Kate also brings apples and offers them to people whether they donate or not.

Kate also brings dog treats.

It was her horseback riding instructor, Becky Hompe, who told her about the Mutt Strut, Kate said. Hompe is also co-president of the local Humane Society.

Hompe told Tribune Staff Writer Anne Polta in a recent interview that the society has taken in 850 homeless animals and that figure may reach 1,200 by the end of the year.

At the Mutt Strut, an annual fundraiser for the society, the organization's target is $2,500.

But the society may raise a lot more because Kate has her sights set on that target, which she states in her fundraising her poster.

"I want to beat the Humane Society goal," she wrote on the drawing.

Gary Miller is an editor at the Tribune.