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Teen Advocates for Heartworm Disease Awareness
Conn. teen is raising money for shelters and awareness for a potentially fatal disease.
When teenager Annie Blumenfeld adopted her dog, Teddy, from a kill animal shelter in 2012, she was inspired to do more to help homeless pets.  Annie is a talented artist and has since raised almost $40,000 through her charity, Wags 4 Hope, by painting pictures of her donors' animals. Required donations vary from $30-45, depending on the number of pets in the piece, but 100 percent of the money goes to shelters. Annie pays for the canvases, brushes, and paint out of her own pocket.

But Annie also has a second part to her mission. When Teddy originally arrived at the shelter, he had heartworm disease. Fortunately he recovered, but not all dogs are so lucky. When Annie found out that the disease is easily preventable, she wanted to do everything she could to raise awareness. Currently Annie is fighting to pass HB-5422, a bill addressing heartworm disease awareness, which will also require Connecticut's dog license form to indicate whether or not the dog is receiving heartworm prevention medicine. Annie even testified on the bill's behalf back in March, so fingers crossed that it will be passed soon!

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

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