When 6-year-old Athena Bryson sat down to make her holiday wish list, the top spot was neither a toy or a video game, but a turkey.
Such a unique request during a season generally dominated by gifts large and small comes as no surprise to Athena's parents. For as long as they can remember, their daughter has absolutely loved animals.
"Last year, she got lambs and bottle-fed them as they didn't have a mother, and she has an incubator for chicks too," Melissa Bryson said. "She came to us this year and said for Christmas she wanted to save a turkey's life."
Athena's parents, who are dairy farmers, immediately went about looking for a turkey to adopt. They eventually found one slated for the holiday dinner table and fulfilled Athena's wish. The new family member — aptly named Valerie Lucky — now joins a number of other pets under the young girl's protection.
"Valerie is very nice," Athena, who one day hopes to become a veterinarian, told the paper. "She is 6 months old. I'm vegetarian and didn't want anyone to eat her. I love animals."