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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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9 year old shares birthday with abandoned animals
Laken Adkins asked for donations for the shelter, instead of presents
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Courtesy Photo: Laken Adkins recently asked for pet supplies instead of birthday presents. She donated the supplies (above) to the Franklin County Animal Shelter.

Monday, January 28, 2013


A 9-year-old girl recently shared her birthday with the animals at the Franklin County Animal Shelter.

Laken Adkins of Boones Mill knew she wanted to do something to help the animals at the shelter, so she decided that this year, instead of receiving gifts for her birthday, she would ask her party guests to bring pet supplies and gift cards instead.

"Since Laken was a very small child, she has always had a love for animals," said her mother, Tabatha Adkins. "Her favorite hobby is riding her horse. If I ever wonder where she might be, I know I can find her in the barn with the horses or playing with our bulldogs outside."

Laken, a third-grader at Boones Mill Elementary, turned 9 in December. She got the gift-giving idea from a friend who did the same thing a couple of years ago.

"I received a lot during the year, and the animals need more than I do," said Laken.

This year, Laken was given a December barn party and guests brought bags of dog food, treats, toys and about $75 in gift cards.

"We talked about where we would donate the items and decided to give them to the county shelter," said Tabatha Adkins. "She (Laken) was so ecstatic and never once regretted her decision."

Laken used the gift cards to purchase more items, such as treats, toys, pet food, litter, shampoo, towels and blankets.

"She could not wait until the day we got to deliver it all to the shelter," her mother said. "She was proud."

Cindy Brooks, animal adoption specialist, gave Laken and her sister a tour of the shelter, and the girls visited with the animals that would benefit from her donation.

Since the birthday party, a few other gift cards and monetary donations have come in and Laken now has another $50 to spend on the animals.

"This time, she wants to use the money to pay for someone's adoption fee as a surprise to them," said her mother.

"It makes me feel happy that I can help the animals, even if it's just a little bit," Laken said.

Laken has a huge heart, according to her mother, and has even used her own money in the past to purchase treats for her pets at home.

She also asks for gifts for her pets at Christmas.

"Laken is a very faith-filled child and her prayers always include our pets and all of God's creatures," her mother said.

"It is so great that the younger generation wants to help," said Brooks. "It's amazing that she is only 9 and has put the animals first, above herself."

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