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Local dog lover donates birthday money to Orillia Animal Centre – OrilliaMatters

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Many say they love animals, but 12-year-old Vanessa Price puts her money where her mouth is.
The Grade 6 student at Coldwater Public School recently donated all her 12th birthday party money and gifts to the Ontario SPCA Orillia Animal Centre.
“I asked for gifts for animals to donate to the SPCA because I didn’t want any gifts for myself. I don’t need anything,” Price said.
Her donation was $140 plus treats and toys for cats and dogs at the West Street North shelter.
Natalie Harris, community outreach coordinator for the Orillia animal shelter, said she — and the animals — appreciated the gifts.
“It’s exceptionally meaningful because not only does it show the natural compassion and care that young people have for animals, it shows the selflessness as well," said Harris.
This is the second time Price has donated her birthday money to an animal shelter. Before COVID, she donated birthday money to the Ontario SPCA Midland and District Animal Centre in Port McNicoll.
“So this is something near and dear to her,” said Harris.
Staff at the Orillia Animal Centre invited Price and her friends to come for a tour the day after her birthday and made it special for her by hanging a Happy 12th Birthday banner, giving her helium balloons and cupcakes to her and her friends.
“She came in and I gave her, her friends and her mom a tour and I asked her why she donated and she said ‘I have all the presents I need,’” said Harris.
“It’s so wonderful to see our young people who not only want to donate to us, but it was a passion for her to come in and see the animals and learn about their stories. The more we can share about the Ontario SPCA, the better. They are our future animal caretakers," said Harris.
Price said she is happy that the centre will use her donation to help animals in the shelter.
“I love animals,” she said with a big smile.
All donations are crucial because OSPCA shelters are non-profit agencies, not funded by government, said Harris.
“All the work we do is funded by donations. Every dollar counts.”
The funds will go toward specialized toys for animals after they come into the shelter and are assessed for their needs, such as treats to promote dental health.
Price's grandmother, Anne Price, said she was proud of her granddaughter.
“I think that’s very impressive for a kid to say, ‘Don’t bring me presents,'" she said.
Vanessa’ mother Kristy is also “very proud of her.”
Asked if she would do it again, the 12-year-old did not hesitate, saying “Yes.”
The Ontario SPCA now offers free AnimalSmart presentations for Grade 1 to 8 students. Volunteers are needed. For more information, call the Orillia shelter at 705-325-1304.
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About the Author: Gisele Winton Sarvis
Community Leaders Program
This story was made possible by our Community Leaders Program partner. 
Thank you to Sunshine Super Wash for helping to expand local news coverage in Orillia. Learn more
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