Thank you for taking an interest in my cause!
I am Annie Blumenfeld, the Founder and President of Wags 4 Hope. I founded Wags 4 Hope on March 31, 2012. I am currently 16 years old, and a Junior in High School. I live in Connecticut, and growing up I always had a passion for animals, art, and helping others. Now I get to combine all of them into one!
How It Began:
My family began searching for three years through countless pet stores, rescue shelters, Newspapers, and private dog breeders, for a loving and loyal friend. Not just any dog, but a true loyal companion who would provide love and security for our family in Connecticut. A year and a half ago, our search happily ended when I was searching the internet and stumbled upon a delightful bouncy two-year-old shaggy dog that had been rescued at a high kill shelter in Houston, Texas.
Teddy was rescued from Houston Shaggy Dog Rescue, by Ms. Kathy Wetmore. At his veterinarian check up it soon was discovered that Teddy tested positive for heartworm disease through an antigen test. This blood test detects specific proteins, called antigens, which are released by adult female heartworms into the dog’s bloodstream. Teddy had to be given two injections of arsenic and remain in a crate. He had to be inactive and carefully monitored for a couple of months. The treatment for heartworm disease is very expensive and difficult for dogs to recover from. It can also be potentially toxic to the dog’s body and can cause serious complications, such as life-threatening blood clots to the dog’s lungs. Treatment is very expensive because it requires multiple visits to the veterinarian, with the process of blood work, and X-rays. It broke my heart to learn that my dog had endured great pain. I researched further, and learned that heartworm disease is extremely serious and can result in severe lung disease, heart failure, other organ damage, and even death. Heartworm disease is caused by a parasitic worm, Dirofilaria immitis, from mosquitoes. These worms are spread through the bite of a mosquito and produce offspring while living inside the dog. The worms are called “heartworms” because they live in the heart, lungs, and other blood vessels of an infected animal. In the United States, heartworm disease is most common in the South because of the extreme heat in which the mosquitoes thrive in, but they are present and highly populated in all 50 states. Heartworm disease is also present throughout Europe, Australia, Canada, and Africa. Heartworm disease cannot be spread from one dog to another it is only spread by the bite of a mosquito.
Since, heartworm disease treatment is expensive, and there is a chance that your pet may not survive the treatment, preventatives are a great solution. There are many safe FDA approved products that can be used. All of these products require a veterinarian’s prescription. These preventatives are used monthly and are simple. There is a vast range of different products from liquids, to tablets. The use of preventatives depend on your location and your dog. Some veterinarians use their own holistic remedies. Please talk to your veterinarian about the best way to protect your pet.
Having learned devastating effects of heartworm disease from my loving companion, I seek to educate pet owners across the country about heartworm disease. I cannot imagine my life without Teddy, and I am so thankful he made a complete recovery. I know I can make a difference and help save all the other innocent dogs that are at high risk. It is here, where I combine my love of painting with my passion for animals. All the money raised through my artwork is given to several animal rescue shelters to help pay for the animals’ medical supplies until they find their forever homes. I also strive to encourage pet responsibility.