Most 6-year olds think of toys when making out their birthday wish lists, but not Mia Lemke. Last Monday, the young girl accepted "gifts" of sacks of dry dog and cat food instead of Barbies and stuffed animals. She then delivered her collection to the Liberty Humane Shelter on Friday after school.
Mia’s mom, Carol Lemke, said her children were blessed with gifts during the holiday season so when it came time to plan Mia’s birthday, they talked about doing something that would benefit others.
"We had just adopted a stray cat and we were talking about buying a pet versus the benefits of saving a life by getting one through the shelter and it developed from there," Carol Lemke said. "She thought the humane shelter was a really cool idea. On her invitations she wrote in lieu of gifts to donate dry cat or dog food. And all her friends and my family and everybody brought pet food for her."
Mia’s request surprised a few party guests.
"My friends were like, ‘What?’" Mia said. "I like stray kitty cats because our cat is a stray. We found him at Papa John’s so we named him Pizza."
Mia said she wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up. She spent time Friday petting and playing with the cats at the shel-
"I am so proud of her," Carol Lemke said. "She is very excited to be doing this and she understands the benefit of it and I think that is wonderful for her."
"It’s wonderful because they start out at young age being animal lovers," Liberty Humane Shelter President Sandra Frye said. "Hopefully, as she matures and becomes an adult, she’ll teach others to also love animals and try and be compassionate for the ones that are less fortunate than the others."