Sixth-Grader Raises Money to Get Shelter Dogs Exercise

Kam Gottlieb raises money to buy treadmills for shelters. What did you do when you were 12?


Dogs waiting to be adopted don’t always get the exercise they need. Kam Gottlieb wants to change that.

The 12-year-old from Wilmette, IL, donated a dog treadmill to the Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago on Dec. 17, and she will give another to The Humane Society of Southwest Michigan in January. The sixth grader used funds she has been raising since third grade to help pay for the treadmills.

“I sold rubber bracelets that glow in the dark. That’s how I got most of my money,” Kam said. “I threw a tiki party in my backyard and asked each of my friends to bring $5. They gave me even more. I raised $150 with the party.”

Kam and her family, who do not have dogs of their own because of allergies, have a history of helping animals in need. They regularly donate toys and other items to the humane society in Michigan when they travel to their summer cabin nearby. Kam wanted to do more, though.

“The main goal for shelter workers is to get the dogs adopted. Exercise sometimes gets pushed aside,” she explained. “I decided to target exercise, and my mom thought of the treadmill. I started researching online, and it sounded really effective.”

After comparing both quality and cost of dog treadmills, Kam and her mom, Susan, decided on the $500 dogPACER and called the company to order the first one she would donate. Kam told dogPACER of her fundraising efforts and got quite the surprise.

“Our first reaction was to give her the treadmill for free, to donate,” David Ezra, CEO and founder of DogPACER, said. “But she worked so hard and long to raise the money, and we didn’t want anything to downplay her efforts. So we gave her a $100 discount off the treadmill and paid for the shipping. Then we surprised her and gave her a second treadmill to donate to another shelter of her choice. She was so excited to be able to help another shelter! That totally made our day. Kam is an inspiration to all of us.”

Kam chose the shelters herself, and they couldn’t be more grateful for the gifts. The Anti-Cruelty Society has a particular need because of its location.

“We’re in the middle of the city,” Dr. Robyn Barbiers, president of the organization, explained. “We have a courtyard where the dogs can go out, but we can’t let them off leash, and we can’t walk them on city streets. It will be a huge benefit for the high-energy dogs, younger dogs, and breeds that really need to exercise.”

A well-exercised dog, in addition to being happier and healthier, also has a better chance of remaining calm and winning over potential adopters, Barbiers said.

Kam got yet another surprise when she went to the organization to make her donation. The organization made her the inaugural member of its new Pals for Pets program. “We always have kids who do lemonade stands or ask for donations instead of gifts, and we didn’t have a formal way to thank them. Kam’s story is just awesome. We decided to create the group for Kam and others like her,” Barbiers said.

Thanks to dogPACER’s generosity, Kam has funds remaining to put toward a third dog treadmill to donate. She already has her next fundraising event in mind to help make up the difference. “I’m going to have a snowman-building contest and sell hot chocolate,” she said.

Kam also may have a dog of her own soon if allergy shots for herself as well as for her dad and brother prove successful. “My family had a Poodle for 15 years and no one was allergic, but when we got a new Poodle we were. We’re going to try again in the spring with an American Hairless Terrier,” she said.

If you would like to help Kam in her efforts to place dog treadmills in shelters, visit to make a donation.

Do you know of a rescue hero — dog, human, or group — we should profile on Dogster? Write us at

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