Many people were touched by the recent loss of the Snowy Owl rescued by Peekskill wildlife photographer Anwar Alomaisi in Stratford in Fairfield County last month, but which died days later at a bird sanctuary that was unable to save it.
The story resonated with area bird and animal lovers, but none more than 12-year-old Sophia Del Monte of Cortlandt Manor, who shed more than a few tears over the owl's loss.
"She's a big animal lover, and she was really upset about it, and was following the updates every day," Nancy Del Monte - Sophia's mom - told Daily Voice. "Then the day it died, I was dreading telling her. When she got home from school I told her and she cried uncontrollably."
Del Monte was one of many who messaged Alomaisi on Facebook just to let him know how much the story touched her little girl.
"When people heard, a lot of people were upset," Alomaisi said. "I was upset, too. .. There was a 75-year-old woman from Florida who was very upset, crying. So when I heard about this little girl - I said 'I've got to do something - frame a photo and give it to her.' "
So he did.
"I wanted to get it to her for Christmas," Alomaisi said, "but my framing guy was on vacation and I didn't get it done on time."
But by this past Wednesday, Alomaisi, an Elmsford native, was ready to pay Sophia a visit - with a large, professionally framed photo of the owl.
"That was incredible," Nancy Del Monte said. "She was thrilled - I don't even know this person... I was thinking maybe an 8 x 10, but this was huge. This man has such a big heart, he drove that owl an hour away to get help, then he gets so wrapped up in a 12-year-old girl who is upset about it. To come from a complete stranger - it's just unbelievable."
Alomaisi said he was happy to do what he could and was only disappointed he couldn't do the same for so many others who were also upset.
"It felt really good," Alomaisi said. "I'm glad I was able to do something."