April is Heartworm Disease Awareness Month!

April 14, 2014  


By Annie Blumenfeld

My name is Annie Blumenfeld and I am 16 years old from Fairfield, Connecticut. Our family rescued our dog shaggy sheepdog Teddy from Houston, Texas. It was discovered he had a serious case of heartworm disease. He was left inactive in a crate for 2 months, with many vaccinations, and X-Rays. It broke my heart to learn that he could not understand why he was in this situation and that he could not play with any of his other friends. It was such a painful, expensive, and long process that could have been easily avoided with a monthly preventive.

After seeing my dog’s suffering I was curious to learn more about heartworm disease and found that more than one million dogs in the United States currently have heartworm disease and 45% of dogs are unprotected. In fact, it is present in Canada, Africa, Australia, and the United Kingdom. So, in an effort to spread heartworm disease awareness and at the same time help support shelter animals’ medical needs I founded a non-profit 501(c)3 organization called Wags 4 Hope. It is here where I combine my love of painting together with my passion for helping animals.

annie2I sell my artwork and give all of the proceeds to animal shelters to help pay for the animals’ medical expenses. Pet owners just email a picture of their pet to me at wags4hope@gmail.com. I am honored to say that one of my paintings of Teddy will be displayed in the new children’s wing of the Mayo Cancer Clinic this spring. I hope it will bring the kids lots of hope and joy.

I have designed a heartworm flier and distributed it to all 50 states as well as Africa, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia. I recently presented a bill to the Connecticut Environmental Committee and we are working to create more awareness in our state.  You can watch a video of my testimony to the Committee here and watch my interview with Connecticut State Representative Tony Hwang here.

pet responsibility craftWags 4 Hope holds different community outreach events, such as our most recent Pet Responsibility Craft Day at the Norwalk Public Library.  I have also created a Wags 4 Hope club at my high school and we provided many blankets and donations for animal shelters this last winter. I plan on continuing my mission and sharing my story of Teddy for many years to come.


To learn more about my mission and ways that I have been spreading awareness visit our website and follow us on Facebook.



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