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Animal shelter plays matchmaker for dogs

Heidi, a friendly dachshund, found a new home with Joannie and Harry Gerrish who drove up from Eden Prairie to make her acquaintance. (Jean Ruzicka / Enterprise)

Generosity fosters generosity; hounds Heidi and Bo will verify this.

The Headwaters Animal Shelter is for animals seeking companions.

When an animal is surrendered, the staff at the shelter works to find a compatible human to provide a home.

Heidi, a 4-year-old red dapple, piebald dachshund, was surrendered when her owners moved to an apartment that did not allow animals.

Headwaters shelter volunteer/matchmaker Lyn Meyers sent the gregarious hound's photo to a couple with whom she volunteered at the Minnesota Zoo.

Harry and Joannie Gerrish started out their married life 60 years ago with a dachshund. Their most recent dog died last year.

They were "hot and cold" about taking on the responsibility of a dog, Meyers said, but decided to motor up from Eden Prairie Thursday to meet Heidi.

Meanwhile Marg and Ken Waldhauser of Akeley stopped by the animal shelter and met Heidi, "falling in love" with the little hound.

Affection is reciprocal. When spoken to, Heidi tilts her head, looking with rapt attention at towering humans.

Circumstances - "a 6-year-old, set-in-her-ways" dachshund at home -precluded the Waldhausers from adopting her. But they donated the $115 adoption fee in hopes of expediting her "emigration" from the shelter.

Meanwhile, Tammy Dixon, who recently moved to the area with husband Robert from Kentucky, stopped in.

Amy, their 12-year-old German shepherd, needed a companion. The lifetime German shepherd owner met - and bonded - with Joe. But his adoption price tag was a bit steep for the couple, having just moved and taken on new jobs.

Animal shelter staff determined perhaps the donated adoption fee could be put toward costs for Joe (soon to be renamed Bo).

Just before the Gerrishes arrived to meet Heidi, Tammy Dixon drove in, unaware of the discussion. She paid the fee and Bo hopped aboard the pickup to head home (coincidentally meeting Meyers and the Gerrishes as they headed into the parking lot).

Harry and Joannie Gerrish made fast friends with Heidi and agreed to pay the adoption fee. A phone call was made to the Dixons, who gratefully accepted the refund.

But Bo was a bit reluctant when Tammy Dixon invited him to hop in the truck and head back to town, perhaps experiencing a bit of déja vu. Bo had spent a week with a foster family who returned him to the shelter.

He obliged and was a happy pup when invited to hop aboard the pickup and return "home."

A day later, Heidi, the Gerrishes reported, had made herself at home, sleeping between the couple.

"This dog acts like she's been here her whole life," Joannie Gerrish told Meyers.

"It was meant to be," Meyers said of the twosome sharing the same chestnut red hair/fur color.