ELYRIA — Sophia Palazzi, 9, began helping animals at a very young age.
When she was 5, she instructed her mother, Melanie Palazzi, to hang a sign from the front door of the family’s home that read, “Veterinarian open.”
“She thought they would bring their animals to her,” Palazzi said, laughing.
Although Sophia is reluctant to chart her career path now, she wanted to do her part for Christmas. She asked for donations of animal food and toys in lieu of presents this year, and she managed to collect a trunk full of items that she took to the Friendship APL on Monday.
“I can’t believe it. It’s so phenomenal that a little girl would love to give,” said Greg Willey, executive director of the Friendship APL, as Sophia and her family stacked the animal food next to a Christmas tree.
Palazzi said her daughter asked for both monetary and food donations, and Grafton Sparkle Market collected donations at the store.
Sophia said she wanted to help animals like the family’s three dogs, pet cat, fish and hermit crab. Her mother joked that it would be hard not to take another animal home, as Sophia and her younger sister, 2-year-old Lily, walked around Friendship APL, meeting the animals.
Willey said Sophia’s collection would make a big difference to the animals, which are left without a family or a home on Christmas.
“The simplest things make them happy,” he said, as he watched one of the cats play with a toy ball that Sophia donated.
Donations are always accepted at the Friendship APL, including toys, blankets, towels, dry and canned food and kitty litter. Willey said there is always a need for cat food and litter.
Donations can be dropped off at the Friendship APL, 8303 Murray Ridge Road, Elyria.