BUFFALO, NY - While some 12-year-olds are working hard on their Christmas lists, Taylor Frankhauser is working toward a different holiday goal.
Frankhauser is selling her handcrafted pens and donating all of the funds to the SPCA Serving Erie County.
"[The SPCA is] so important to me because they save animals," she said. "And animals mean so much to me because they don't judge you for who you are, and they really just help them out and they save them, so I really like that about them."
She started making the pens for fun two years ago and, last month, she decided she knew exactly what she wanted for Christmas: to sell the pens and help Erie County's animal adoption and rescue organization.
Frankhauser is part of her school's SPCA club, but her mission to make and sell pens is her own. The pens are $2 each, and in the past month, she has collected $376; her original goal was to donate at least $500 by Christmas, but she may surpass that.
The 12-year-old is getting more customers than she expected – her father, who sells the pens at his work, is getting calls from clients asking for dozens more. And as Frankhauser works on her pens, she's getting closer to her Christmas wish.
Frankhauser has three pet dogs and a lizard. Frankhauser's pit bull, Lily, is a rescue dog. Her father found Lily.
"The minute he saw her, he fell in love with her. So we really didn't like decide, we kind of fell in love with her instantly," she says.
Her lizard is also a rescue pet. Her father found him in a garbage bin outside of his work.
"My dad didn't want him to like die or anything, so we took him and we like made him fatter and stuff, so now he's like part of the family," she said.
Frankhauser wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up. But, for now, she's doing her part in helping animals by making and selling her flower pens. And she is meticulous in her craft.
Frankhauser creates the pens, which eventually look like flowers, by shaping multi-colored and designed duct tape into petals and attaching them to the pen, which she wraps in green duct tape to resemble a stem.
Frankhauser said she doesn't expect every 12-year-old to exchange their Christmas lists for donations to charity, but she is happy doing so.
"I want to grow up and be a veterinarian and own a sanctuary and I just love animals so much, but that's just me," Frankhauser said. "If you want gifts and stuff that's completely fine, but this is what I want to do and I want to donate and stuff and I really didn't want anything this Christmas."
If you would like to help Taylor reach her goal, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WGRZ Intern Lisa Khoury contributed to this story.