Teen’s Inspiring Mission Will Melt Your Heart And Brighten Your Wall
What were you doing when you were 16?
If you were like me, you were probably hanging out with your friends, gossiping about boys and going to the movies. But if you’re 16-year-old Connecticut-native Annie Blumenfeld, you’re using your artistic gifts to raise thousands of dollars for animals in need.
In 2012, Annie founded a non-profit organization called Wags 4 Hope to raise both money and awareness for heartworm prevention in rescue and rehomed dogs alike. She was inspired by her delightfully shaggy dog Teddy, who was rescued from a high kill shelter in Texas. After adopting him, Annie learned just how far Teddy had come since being rescued: when he was first brought to the vet from the shelter, it was discovered that he had a very severe case of heartworm. Teddy endured months of tough treatments and careful monitoring, but thankfully, he pulled through. As Annie soon learned, not all dogs are so lucky.
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Heartworm can be serious for dogs and can result in severe heart disease, heart failure, other organ damage and even death, since the worms actually invade the heart, lungs and blood vessels of an infected animal. Treatment can be expensive, difficult and sometimes even toxic to a dog’s body — the best treatment is really prevention, and that’s the message Annie hopes to get across.
To spread the word and raise much-needed funds for rescue groups around the country, Annie uses her gifts as an artist to paint customized pictures of dogs and cats. And here’s the kicker: ALL the proceeds go to charity. Annie donates to shelters and rescues in and around Connecticut, or she will donate to the rescue of your choice.
The cost of the paintings is also really reasonable. At $50 plus shipping, you get a customized painting of your furry friend and you know the money is going to a great cause.
Annie personally pays for all the materials: canvases, brushes and paint, so your full $50 is donated to the rescues to help pay for the animal’s medical supplies until they find their forever homes. So far, Annie and Wags 4 Hope have raised more than $30,000 for animals in need. Is this kid amazing or what?
So the next time you hear someone complaining about how self-absorbed the younger generation is, please point them in the direction of Wags 4 Hope, Annie Blumenfeld and Teddy. (And tell them to request a painting!)
If you’re interested in getting your hands on a piece of Annie’s artwork, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, and visit Wags 4 Hope and Facebook page (and give ‘em a ‘Like’ while you’re at it!).
Keep up the great work, Annie!
Christina Peden is a lifelong animal lover and avid wordsmith. She lives in Toronto with her boyfriend Ryan where they are proud pet parents to puppy, Matilda and cat, Oscar. In her spare time, she can be found enjoying Toronto, Canada's all-too-short patio season, taking advantage of the city's numerous parks or curled up with a good book.
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