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Girl’s birthday wish to help animals at shelter comes true again

Photo by Kate York Kylee Gray stops to look at cats up for adoption at the Humane Society of the Ohio Valley as she made a sizable donations there on Thursday.

MARIETTA — The birthday list compiled by 11-year-old Kylee Gray each year is a bit different than those of many of her friends.

There are no children’s toys, no games, no jewelry or clothes.

“I normally ask for dog treats, cat treats, cat food, dog food and cat litter,” said Gray, of Macksburg. “I also ask for toys for dogs and cats.”

The donations have been her birthday wish for three years now in lieu of any gifts for herself.

“I don’t ever miss getting things for myself,” she said. “I have a love for animals and I want to take care of them.”

Photo by Kate York Kylee Gray unloads some of the supplies she donated to the Humane Society of the Ohio Valley.

Each year, the donations are given to the Humane Society of the Ohio Valley in Marietta. Gray, whose birthday was Aug. 23, made her latest donation on Thursday. It included 582 pounds of dog food, 40 bags of dog treats and two buckets of dog toys–and that was before she went shopping for more supplies with the monetary donations she received. With that included, the family estimated they hit the 1,000 pound mark with dog and cat food.

“This year was by far the biggest year,” said Kylee’s mother, Candi. “People came from everywhere with donations. The first time we probably had 300 pounds because people still brought her some gifts because they felt bad. But now they’ve realized this is really what makes her happy.”

Candi, though “super proud” of her daughter, admits to some skepticism, too, when Kylee first approached her with the idea.

“I said ‘Um, are you sure? You’re not going to get anything for your birthday,'” she said. “And she was sure. No one ever suggested it to her. It was all her and it’s been a great thing for her.”

Now a fifth-grader at Caldwell Elementary, Kylee said she hopes to one day be a veterinarian. She’s always had pets to care for at home, including rescue cat Baby, Chocolate Lab Dozer and Beagle Jase.

Photo by Kate York Kylee Gray sits among the estimated 1,000 pounds of cat and dog food and treats she donated last week to the Humane Society of the Ohio Valley.

“Dozer lets us roll all over him,” said Kylee, who has two sisters, Dani and Aubrie. “We can lay on him and take naps on him. Jase is really friendly and will let anybody pet him. And our cat, she likes to hide.”

Her daughter has always had an affinity for animals, said Candi Gray.

“All animals take to her,” she said. “We had a horse that we had to put down and she cried for days and laid on the grave for days. She just loves them.”

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How to Help…

The Humane Society of the Ohio Valley has an urgent need for these items:

* Dog biscuits/treats

* Purina Dog Chow

* Purina Puppy Chow

* Hard rubber and soft rubber toys

Supplies always needed:

* Bleach

* Flea and tick medicine

* Paper towels

* Towels (old or new)

* Dawn dish soap

* Tide Power Laundry Detergent HE

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