Wags For Annie!
Wags For Annie!
Youth Activist Wins Award
For Activist Appreciation Month, we’re honored to feature the accomplishments of fellow activists who often go unrecognized for their noble efforts to help animals. This week, it’s our pleasure to introduce you to student activist Annie Blumenfeld, who founded Wags 4 Hope, a nonprofit which raises awareness about heartworm disease, supports shelter animals' medical needs, and encourages responsible guardianship.
To recognize her admirable work on behalf of animals, we are presenting Annie with a Youth Activist Award and donation of $500 towards her nonprofit. When we asked Annie what inspired her to start Wags 4 Hope, she said, “Animals with severe medical conditions are the first to be euthanized because these shelters do not have the time nor funds to treat them. It further broke my heart to learn that this disease could have been avoided with a monthly preventative.”
Annie started Wags 4 Hope in 2012 when she was just 14 years old after adopting Teddy, a rescue dog with heartworm, who was crated for more than a month and stabilized with arsenic injections to eliminate worms in his heart and lungs. At the time, one of Annie’s dog portraits was featured in local art show, where she was approached to paint dog portraits for others. This coincidence gave Annie the brilliant idea to start Wags 4 Hope, selling custom animal portraits to fund better care for shelter and rescue animals like her beloved Teddy, “Seeing Teddy so full of life, wagging his tail, gave me hope that so many other innocent and deserving animals could be saved.”
Beyond raising funds and collecting food, medical products, toys, blankets, and cleaning supplies for animal shelters, Wags 4 Hope provides educational crafts for children, blog posts, and videos. Annie also serves as an ambassador for Operation Hope's Food Pantry to supply food for companion animals of people in need.
For over a year and a half, Annie met with local legislators to include a heartworm disease awareness message on the Connecticut Dog Licensing Form, making Connecticut the first state to add a heartworm “check-box.”
Although Annie faced many challenges while starting her nonprofit like creating a website, managing a bank account, and handling customer service, she encourages other young activists to take small steps toward helping animals, “You don’t have to initiate a large-scale fundraiser in order to make a difference in the lives of animals. Your involvement can range from sharing a Facebook post about an issue to making chew toys to donate to a local animal shelter.”
We’re grateful to Annie, and activists like her, for their determination to help animals! Stay tuned for more activist feature stories throughout Activist Appreciation Month.
If you want to purchase a portrait of your companion animal, you can find details on Annie’s website.
You can praise Annie directly on her Facebook page.