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Happy birthday; here's a chew toy

Back in September Christian Lutton read a newspaper article that caught his attention. It was about a mother cat and a litter of kittens, that had been taped into a box and abandoned in a dumpster.

"I cried," Lutton said. "I was sad."

He was also inspired. After reading the story Lutton went to his mother, Heather, to ask what he could do to make sure that kind of thing didn't happen. They talked about some options, and they eventually settled on Christian's birthday.

Lutton turned 10 Oct. 3. He had a sleepover party with friends. They watched movies -- Iron Man and Transformers -- but there were no piles of toys for Christian when his friends went home the next day. There were several bags of dog food and rubber chew toys, though. Those are the gifts Christian had asked for, and he turned around and donated the items to Last Hope, a local animal rescue operation, and to the Humane Society.

"He decided he had pretty much everything he needed," Heather Lutton said.

Turns out, the party was just the beginning. When word of Christian's birthday wish got out donations started coming in from other places. Bart Lutton, Christian's father, told friends at work what his son was doing and they started donating gift cards. And when Christian's grandfather found out what was happening he offered to double the donations his grandson collected.

Bart Lutton said he's proud of what his son decided to do.

"I think that's a pretty big thing for a 10-year-old in this day and age," he said.

The family turned the items over to Last Hope last month.

"They brought kitty litter. They brought collars. They brought toys for both cats and dogs," said Last Hope president Bev Orr. "I think that's pretty special.

"I just felt so humbled to think a little boy would do that," she said. "It touches your heart."

Christian has always loved animals. He said getting his own cockatiel changed his life -- squelching an interest in hunting that had developed since the family moved to Farmington from Seattle. The family also has cats, guinea pigs and hamsters.

"He's always been like that," Heather Lutton said. "Even when he was little, when he saw a dead dragonfly he'd get upset."

Lutton said even without the presents he had a good birthday, and he's looking forward to making more donations in the future.

"I realized what I was doing," he said. "I'm proud of it."