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Pet parakeet inspires 21-year-old to work with animals

By MASON TRINCA
Oct. 7, 2013 at 5:07 a.m.

Brianna Mirelez, 21, cradles Crayola, a terrier mix, outside the kennels area of the Dorothy O'Connor Pet Adoption Center. Crayola recently had a litter of puppies, and all of them were adopted.

Ever since her childhood pet, Booger the parakeet, passed away, Brianna Mirelez has been inspired to rescue and help animals.

Now, at 21, Mirelez works at the Dorothy O'Connor Pet Adoption Center, where she helps clean, feed, prep medications and, most importantly, teach the animals to socialize to increase their adoption chances.

"It takes away the stress," she said about how the job affects her. "You can get away from reality. I mean, you can talk to the animals and tell them anything you want, and they won't judge you."

Caring for animals that have been at the center for years can sometimes have an emotional toll on the staff, Mirelez said.

"You get attached to them here," she said. "It's hard to see them go. I know that they're going to a good home, but that little piece of me. . It's hard."

Despite how hard the job is, Mirelez looks toward the future and has a goal to continue to keep her passion alive.

"I want to go to school for animal rehabilitation. I'm learning a lot here," she said. "This is a good step."

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