Luling boy asks for donations for shelter animals as birthday gifts

On arrival, Preston Dufour is clearly a force to be reckoned with as he plays with Zeus in the lobby of the St. Charles Parish Animal Shelter.

Taking in a deep breath, Preston then proclaims to everyone in the lobby, “This dog loves tennis balls.”

The pit bull mix, resembling a small tiger with its brindle fur, had grabbed a bundle of them from a pile of gifts that Preston had brought there from his July 23 birthday party. The partygoers were generous, donating toys, food and treats for cats and dogs, as well as towels.

Animal Control Supervisor Jena Troxler praised Preston’s act of generosity.

“Sweet Preston just celebrated his eighth birthday and all he asked for was instead of gifts people bring stuff for the animals at the shelter,” Troxler said. “Thanks to Preston, the shelter babies have toys, treats, collars, blankets and more. Preston wanted to give back to the shelter where they adopted their sweet Stella. His family also gave Zeus, one of the shelter’s longest residents, a break from shelter life last week. We can’t thank Preston and his family enough for all they have done for the shelter babies.”

Troxler said they can always use small milk bone type treats or soft treats, martingale collars from Walmart, leashes, old towels, newspaper and canned food.

“We cherish even small donations, Troxler said.For this Luling 8-year-old, it was like celebrating his birthday again.

Accompanied by his cousin, Kamilah Melancon, the two were having a great time playing with Zeus. Earlier, they had groomed Meatball, also a pit bull mix, who joyfully stayed in place while they brushed his silky gray fur.

Instead of accepting gifts for himself, Preston asked friends to bring them for the animals at the shelter. He was thrilled about delivering them and even more about being able to play with Zeus, who is special to the child.

He and his family fostered the dog for a week.

Ashlynn Dufour, Preston’s mother, said they are animal lovers, but Preston is all about them. He seeks them out in books and YouTube videos so it seemed natural that he wanted to take care of them.

They also recently adopted Stella, which lent to several trips to the shelter.

“I think it’s a good way to give back to the shelter,” Dufour said. “It also gave the dog a break from shelter life. He’s one of the dogs who has been there a while.”The idea of helping other dogs getting adopted may have found its mark with Preston at that time.

Donating pet items to the shelter instead of getting birthday gifts was the child’s idea.

“I was definitely surprised,” Dufour said of her son’s move to help the animals. “I think it was awesome and very selfless of him to do that.”

It didn’t appear to be any trouble to Preston, who commented about Meatball, “He looks ferocious, but he’s really a sweetheart.”

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