by Jen Rusby
“I love animals, and I’ll do anything I can to help them,” says Sicily Distefano. Entering PetSmart in American Fork almost two years ago, Sissy (she’ll probably kick me for calling her that-but I really like it!) was immediately drawn to the rescue in the center of the store. Sissy knew at that moment that she wanted to volunteer to help animals, but she would have to wait another year…which worked out just right in the end!
An advocate and animal-lover herself, Sissy’s mother Amity is proud of the values and beliefs instilled in Sissy at such a young age. Did I mention that Sissy is only 10-years-old? Well, almost eleven in August! Both mother and daughter volunteer as a Utah Valley Animal Rescue Foster Family in addition to donating their time to our PetSmart Adoption and Special Events.
Sicily has grown up with cats and dogs and is quite the natural with both. Her affection for each animal is contagious, and she follows the safety guidelines and requirements set fourth by UVAR better than most of us adults!
"I love animals, and I'll do anything to help them."
When asked if it was hard to see her foster dogs go, she told me that it might take a day for her to fully come to realization that they’re gone, but knowing they've found a furever home balances everything. She seemed to take, what to me, is the most difficult part of the fostering process in stride, and I couldn’t help but feel a bit of pride during this conversation. I’m proud to be a part of this group of people…and she’s a part of OUR team.
At the beginning of this post, I wrote that, “…it worked out just right in the end.” Sissy came to us at the beginning of the year. We are just now celebrating our first full year in operation. Had her mother let her volunteer the year before, we would not have had the privilege to be inspired by her commitment and dedication. Though countless animals would have been helped no doubt!
Wise beyond her years, Sicily told me that just yesterday her goal was to be on television so that she could tell people all about volunteering to help animals. Today, I asked her if she would be willing to do the Pet of the Week segment on ABC4 Midday with me on Wednesday. We’re now taking suggestions on future goals!
At the end of my conversation with Sissy, I asked if she had an idea of what the future holds. Her answer? “I want to own a rescue just like Heathre.” I think Utah Valley Animal Rescue’s legacy will continue long after my generation thanks to incredible young people like Sissy.