The Ottumwa Courier

October 6, 2012

Local girl shuns birthday presents in favor of donations to pets

MARK NEWMAN
Courier Staff Writer

OTTUMWA — Ten-year-old Luxy Horn of Ottumwa likes playing with animals more than playing with toys. Friends getting invitations to her birthday party this week got an interesting request.

On her birthday party invitations, she included that instead of gifts for her, friends should “bring dog food, cat food, cat litter, dog toys and cat toys.”

“She thought it up all on her own, months ago. She has a very big heart,” said her grandmother, Tammy Loerzel of Ottumwa.

“I figured you don’t need toys to have fun. The party is fun, with my friends,” Luxy said.

On Friday, her actual 10th birthday, she spent time at the Heartland Humane Society, which will be the beneficiary of her generosity.

She was playing with the cats. But she had  worn her fun shoes with the laces that extend almost to her knees. Of course, kittens love chasing shoe laces, and she was being followed around the cat room by several at a time — some interested in chasing her feet.

“Instead of being selfish and getting toys for yourself, why not get toys for the animals who need it?” she decided.

Teachers and organization directors in Wapello County often say kids are more caring than grownups give them credit for. While there will always be troublemakers, they say, there are many more children who make their families proud. Grandma said Luxy is one example of “a good kid.”

The party is today.

“She’s always been kind and giving to people and animals,” Loerzel said.

She came out the shelter once, two or three years ago, with family members who were looking for a pet. She found a whole new world.

“I try to [be] here once a month,” Luxy said.

She likes both dogs and cats — but maybe spends a little more time with the dogs.

When she gets bigger, she said, she’d like to volunteer to walk the dogs at the humane society.

 That’s despite the fact that she’s allergic to both species.

Every night, Luxy takes allergy pills. She has her own pup: a hypoallergenic Shih Tzu/Maltese that won’t bother her allergies.

That dog, said grandma, loves Luxy.

“He doesn’t like when she goes away,” she said.

She told Luxy to describe what the dog does if Luxy is gone for a while.

“He doesn’t eat, he doesn’t drink, he just sits there in the corner,” Luxy said.

When she finally comes home, he barks and charges at the door, jumping at the little girl and scratching at her.

“Then he goes and eats,” Luxy said.

So what would she like to do when she grows up?

“I want to be either a veterinarian or a volunteer here,” she said.