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At the age of 14, Annie formed a non-profit organization called Wags4Hope. It all started after Annie and her mom rescued a dog named Teddy, from a shelter that tested positive for heartworm disease. They discovered that removing heartworm from dogs, is a long and difficult process. Teddy had to be given two injections of arsenic, be inactive in a crate for a lengthy period of time, and had to be closely monitored. The treatment for heartworm disease is very expensive and can also be potentially toxic to the dog’s body. Serious complications can arise such as life-threatening blood clots in the dog’s lungs. Luckily, Teddy made a full recovery and Annie became inspired to educate pet owners about the importance of heartworm prevention and pet responsibility.
In order to help fund her organization, Annie used her art skills to sell paintings of animals. She has painted hundreds of paintings where 100% of the proceeds are given to animal shelters to fund heartworm treatments. To date Annie has raised over $30K to support heartworm disease treatment and education.
To strengthen her position in educating people about heartworm disease, Annie worked with the Connecticut legislators to spearhead a bill which would place a message about heartworm disease on the Connecticut dog license form. No change has been made on the dog license form in the last 8 years. With Annie's determination the bill was approved and now the CT dog license form has a heartworm message to make pet owners aware of this condition.
Annie hopes other states follow in her lead and she plans to create an information kit on best practices to take care of dogs and how to prevent heartworm disease.
Let us thank Annie for her amazing work and help her continue to stand up for dogs so they can live productive and healthy lives.