For as long as she can remember Zoe Drozdowicz has made animals a priority in her life. And she expects they will play a major role in her adult life as well. But the eighth-grader at the Orange Middle School is doing much more than just petting her pooch or cleaning her animals' cages.

No, she is actively working to rescue and save all creatures great and small.

This time around the 14 year old has devised a fun way for her peers to assist the animals waiting for their forever homes at the municipal animal shelter. She is hosting a pool party, The Dog Paddle, at the Orange pool house this Saturday, Jan. 20, 5 to 8 p.m.

Drozdowicz has a litter of critters she cares for on a daily basis. They include; Mimi, a soft-coated wheaten terrier; two Swedish mice, Cassandra and Genevieve; five goldfish; two parakeets, Honey and Wager; a Peruvian Guinea pig, Mika and Peanut a Abyssinian Guinea pig; (the pigs were rescued from the Humane Society where they had bloody stumps for toes) a Netherland dwarf rabbit called Chester and a gray cockatiel Sami who plays scrabble with the family.

Zoe has been working on behalf of animals for many years. She wrote an essay a while back that won her the opportunity to spend a week at the prestigious Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine in North Grafton, Mass. And from that point on she knew her lifelong ambition was to be a veterinarian, an Avian specialist to be exact.

She regularly does humane education and has spoken before special education classes teaching safe handling techniques. She also put together a slide show for Peck Place School on fish cruelty to get kids to boycott albino and clear skin fish with fluorescent coloring.

And she is president of the Quaker Farms 4H Club, helps with equine care in the summer and volunteers in the small animal tent at the Orange Country Fair.

The Dog Paddle is a pool party for humans to raise money for the local animal shelter, District Animal Control which serves Bethany, Orange, Woodbridge and Prospect. The shelter is located at 135 Bradley Road in Woodbridge and houses critters while they are waiting for a second chance at happiness.

When asked why she was hosting the fund-raiser she said she wanted to help keepo the animals healthy.

"I knows that food and supplies are expensive. And rather than bring food to the shelter I thought it would be beneficial to raise funds so the shelter can purchase exactly what they needs," she said.

Zoe said she views the event as a win-win for the shelter.

"The town pool is donated. Everything we collect goes to the shelter," she said.

The event is open to Amity kids who are at least in the 7th grade. The expected donation is $5 for advance registration. If you decide at the last minute and don't contact Zoe then the cost is $10. Refreshments will be served.

Contact her at 203-848-7968 (after 2:30 p.m.) or E mail her at Jrvet123@aol.com

Anyone wishing to contribute may send donations, made payable to DAC to her at 382 Timberlane, Orange, CT 06477.