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Shelter thanks summer resident for volunteerism and fundraising

Deanna Center said farewell to Korbin, a timid Lab that after weeks of patient coaxing warmed up to the animal shelter volunteer. (Jean Ruzicka / Enterprise)

The Headwaters Animal Shelter staff and board members surprised a key volunteer with a farewell party this week, her dogged determination to raise funds and befriend hounds earning kudos from the crew.

Deanna Center, 13, will return to her hometown of Littleton, Colo. after another atypical summer at the cabin on 5th Crow Wing Lake. Her preference is not to lollygag about on the lake, but head into town to volunteer at the shelter.

Her penchant for pets began at a young age, Mom Debbie said, despite her father Steve's allergies precluding furry critters in the home (She and her brother, Joel, have three bearded dragons, lizards native to Australia that are said to be great house pets.)

Fundraising for animals has also been a calling, tooth fairy money added to Deanna's Pennies for Heaven coffer. When she plays bingo, her winnings are added to cause, Debbie said. Birthday money is also pound bound.

Wednesday, arriving for what she thought would be time spent with the animals, she was met with staff, volunteers, a thank-you sign and goodies, recognizing the hours spent funds raised, now totaling $2,111.

Korbin, a black Lab, will likely feel the greatest void. The abandoned, abused dog has warmed up to Deanna, cowering and running when other humans come near.

Deanna will continue volunteering with animals in Colorado, assisting with training via Every Creature Counts at PetSmart.

But Debbie said the Headwaters Animal Shelter is far more amenable to volunteers. "You feel like you're intruding," Debbie said of volunteering at home. She also lauded the shelter's outdoor runs where dogs frolic daily. "I've never seen anything like this."

"This would have bought 534 tubes of glittering watermelon lip gloss," Rik Meyers pointed out of Deanna's donation. "Or 422 tickets to 'High School Musical.' Or 105 pairs of Old Navy jeans, with 140 T-shirts" to accompany.

But she chose to donate to the shelter.

A second plaque on a kennel at the shelter will acknowledge her compassion for canines and generosity.