Annie Blumenfeld is the founder and president of Wags 4 Hope, a nonprofit that teaches responsible pet ownership and helps support the needs of rescue animals in the Fairfield, Connecticut area. Annie is today’s Daily Point of Light, and she talked with Points of Light about her longtime committment to service.
Describe your volunteer role.
I started Wags 4 Hope in 2012, and I oversee all aspects of the organization. I paint portraits of peoples’ pets and donate the proceeds to the shelter or rescue group of their choice. The funds go toward an animal in need so that they can find their deserving forever home. I also focus largely on the educational component.
I worked with legislatures to spearhead a bill to increase heartworm disease awareness in the state of Connecticut by adding an educational awareness message on the Connecticut Dog Licensing Form about heartworm disease. For Operation Hope CT, I supply their food pantry with pet food for visitors.
What inspired you to give back?
Learning about what my rescue dog went through when I was in middle school inspired me to start Wags 4 Hope. My dog Teddy suffered from heartworm disease, which is completely preventable. He was picked up from a high kill shelter by Houston Shaggy Dog Rescue where he was treated for over a month with arsenic injections to kill the worms. Seeing how full of life and happy Teddy was once he arrived to our home in Texas made me realize how many other animals can be saved. I decided to raise awareness about Teddy’s story through my organization.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned through your experience as a volunteer?
You can make a difference if you continuously work on something. My work with Wags 4 Hope started primarily in my community by painting portraits of peoples’ pets on my weekends and holding educational workshops at local libraries. I did not realize that it would then span to national speaking engagements and sending portraits across the country. Most importantly, you are never too young to advocate for an issue you care about.
Why do you think it’s important for other people to volunteer?
Often times, many people feel too overwhelmed to make a difference with so many issues facing our country. I encourage everyone to find something they are passionate about and advocate for change. Your voice matters.
Do you want to make a difference in your community like Annie? Visit All For Good to find local volunteer opportunities.