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A Girl with a Heart for Animals

The average person may find it difficult to stand up for something they are passionate about and make a difference—especially when people say they are too young or too old.  Eleven year old Casey didn’t let that stop her from listening to her heart and making the decision to help animals.  She wanted to put her efforts into volunteering at a shelter for her Girl Scout project, but was told by many shelters that she was at least 5 years too young. Despite being discouraged, Casey did not give up. With UHA’s help, Casey finally was allowed to pursue her goal of doing anything she could to make the lives of these animals better.  

Casey, Girl Scout Volunteer

Casey Volunteering at Glamour Shot Day

“For my Girl Scout Bronze Award project, I wanted to do something to help a dog rescue program.” Casey said. “Most of all the rescues or humane societies require volunteers to be 16 or 18.  When we took one of our  rescue dogs for a check-up at Montrose Pet Hospital, I asked Dr. Mitchell if she had any ideas about who I might be able to work with.

“She helped me find Claudia with United Hope for Animals. Claudia met with my mom and I to share ideas.  She thought that it was important to get the word out about the great dogs at the Baldwin Park Shelter, so I decided to make a flyer and post it around La Canada, La Crescenta, Montrose and Pasadena.  

“I also wanted to do something for the dogs, so I made treats for volunteers to give them on Glamour Shot day.  My parents volunteered to work at the adoption events at Petco so I could go along to help.”

The tragic statistics for animals admitted to the shelter added to Casey’s determination. Without a rescue group to advocate for them, many animals have a mere 4 days at the shelter before they are euthanized. This upsetting information fueled Casey’s desire to change the lives of these pets, and her efforts have grown to be much more than a single project.  

Armed with the knowledge she has gained working with UH4A, Casey wants other kids her age to fight for what they’re passionate about, no matter what. According to her mother, she has built valuable communication skills and her confidence in herself has grown.  

 Casey’s mom, Lisa, shares how this project has affected her daughter:

“It has been wonderful watching Casey find an avenue to share her passion about homeless animals.  She spent a lot of time online and with Claudia learning about how United Hope for Animals works.  Spending time at the Baldwin Park facility opened her eyes to the fact that there are many, many people who do not care as deeply as she does about their pets.  She was shocked by the number of people in line to surrender their animals.  

“Casey has become a true advocate for these animals.  She keeps track of the animals that are available and follows up to see who has been adopted or rescued.  She sends emails and talks to family and friends about the importance of spaying/neutering and adoption.  She even collected money for United Hope for Animals in lieu of birthday gifts this year.



“United Hope for Animals put Casey’s donation in use to help pay for Buster’s medical bills.  Buster is a lovable guy who was suffering from an easily-preventable infection of the anal glands.  Read more about Buster’s story here.

 “Casey plans to work on her Girl Scout Silver award this year through United Hope for Animals again.  She looks forward to becoming an official volunteer at the Baldwin Park Shelter when she turns 16.  Until then, she is determined to continue helping with the adoption events and raising awareness about the problem of homeless pets.  

“How many eleven year olds do you know who would ask for donations instead of presents for their birthday?  How many kids would spend so much of their time helping others?  Change always starts with one person listening to their heart.  It doesn’t matter who they are, how old they are, or where they come from.  In this case, the power and passion of one child has made a difference in the lives of so many animals in need.”

United Hope for Animals is proud to help Casey help animals in need.Thank you, Casey, for being such a terrific teammate of United Hope for Animals!

Buster’s Road to Recovery

Meet Buster, an irresistible 4-5 year old Sheltie mix and the latest recipient of United Hope for Animals’ Angel Fund, which is dedicated to helping shelter pets who need a little extra medical care in order to be adopted.

About two weeks ago, a picture of Buster circulating on Facebook caught the eye of UHA volunteer Menna Kearns. This one-of-a-kind boy – with his luxurious black and brown coat, adorably short legs, comical floppy ears, and kind-hearted eyes – was at the Baldwin Park Animal Care Center and seemed like a dream dog. As soon as Saturday rolled around, Menna and a fellow rescuer met up at the shelter to meet Buster (then called Mr. Beasley) – who turned out to be even more charming in person than his picture suggested.

“It was so obvious that this was possibly the sweetest, most mild-mannered pup in existence,” Menna says. “He is the embodiment of that warm giddiness you get when you see something really cute.”

With looks and a disposition like this, Buster was a prime candidate for adoption – a perfect family pet. There was just one problem.

“We noticed there was blood in the kennel, and thinking it was an injured paw pad or something minor, we considered leaving and telling the staff on the way out. But something made me stay,” Menna says.

That something turned Menna into Buster’s angel. The source of the blood was not a superficial wound, but ruptured anal sacs that had developed into a large and painful infection in need of immediate medical attention. Thanks to Menna’s hard work and the cooperation of the shelter, UHA was able to rescue Buster immediately and book him a same-day appointment with our vet.

With a couple of hours between leaving the shelter and the vet appointment, Menna took Buster home to hang out in her back yard.

“He proceeded to sniff around and get covered in leaves and cobwebs. I was amazed at how happy and grateful he was, despite the obvious pain he was in. He pranced when he walked and enjoyed taking in all the smells around him,” Menna says.

We are happy to report that Buster is now on the road to recovery. His infection required surgery to treat, and he is healing well in a foster home, where he is receiving lots of love and affection.

 “Buster is a cuddler and loves to be touched and to sleep next to you, if you invite him. He is house trained and has the most beautiful brown soulful eyes,” says his foster mom, Lorinda.

From Baldwin Park to Maine: Bob’s Story

When Jana Savage, animal advocate and UHA volunteer,  first laid eyes on the sick kitten in the Baldwin Park Animal Care Center’s medical clinic, she knew she had to help. Chloe, as Jana named her, was suffering from Sarcoptic Mange, a skin condition caused by mites. Under most circumstances, Chloe’s chances of adoption would have been small, but this little one was lucky to have Jana on her side.

In the end, Chloe turned out to be Bob (oops!), and with the help of Jana, UHA’s Angel Fund, a donation from the Heigl Foundation, and a compassionate foster mom, Bob is now healthy, happy, and, most importantly, home. This is Bob’s story in Jana’s own words:

When I first met Bob (and for the next two months) I thought he was a Chloe. I like to think this early gender mixup has not had a lasting effect on him. By the looks of it, Bob is doing just fine these days.

Sweet Bob was suffering horribly from Sarcoptic Mange at the shelter. When I saw him in the clinic I knew I was in trouble because I just couldn’t let him fall through the cracks, and there was no way my 3 dogs would allow a cat in our house.

An amazing friend of mine, who already had a full plate with two dogs and a small child, took him in and nursed him back to health. Once Bob was healthy, she graciously said goodbye to Bob and I sent him to live with my brother, his wife and their cat, Midge, in Maine.  Bob is doing swimmingly and getting more and more acclimated to a stable and loving home every day.

My brother sent me this message: “He keeps going through phases of comfort…About a week ago he started sprawling out in all directions, when before he would always tuck his limbs in while he napped.”

Bob has completed my brother’s family and they couldn’t be happier. My brother and his wife have a loyal companion, and Midge has a best feline friend forever. The difference between when I first saw him and how happy and healthy is now is a prime example of what can happen when people join together to save a life. 

Blackie’s Story: Why Spaying and Neutering Matter

Meet Blackie, the poster puppy for spaying and neutering. Many might ask how a well-behaved, loving four-month old puppy winds up at a shelter as an owner surrender. Unfortunately, the answer is all too common: Blackie was part of an unplanned and unwanted litter. Unable to care for their own dogs plus a litter of Rottweiler-Pit Bull mix puppies, Blackie’s former owners surrendered her to the shelter.  Celene, a committed volunteer, instantly fell in love with the sweet puppy. Celene recalls:

“She was the perfect forever dog, the one that would cuddle up and try to fit in your lap.  She was smart and easy to train, she would be fun to take on hikes or chase tennis balls in a dog park.  She was adorable and would be the dog to show off to the world. It broke my heart to see her shaking in the shelter and shattered me to think she might have lost her life, since her owners couldn’t find a home for her all  because they didn’t spay or neuter their pets.

Stories like Blackie’s often don’t end well. Young puppies have immature immune systems and are susceptible to disease. Further, crowded shelters that receive stray and surrendered animals every day cannot keep dogs indefinitely, and even puppies can be put to sleep if no one comes to adopt them.

Thankfully, though, Blackie’s story has a happy ending. With a little help from her UHA Glamour Shot and video, which highlighted her winning personality, and the advocacy of UHA and shelter volunteers, Blackie was adopted. Because she was spayed on adoption, she will not contribute to the cycle of unwanted, homeless litters.

“The kisses she gave me will always be a happy memory knowing she is safe now,” Celene says.

Please help stop this cycle by spaying and neutering your pets, and encouraging your friends and neighbors to do the same. Some low-cost spay/neuter resources include:

The Jason Debus Heigl Foundation spays and neuters animals for free through their Heigl Ray of Hope Program. Residents of Baldwin Park (zip code 91706) and El Monte (zip codes 91731, 91732, and 91733) can set up an appointment with one phone call to 818-755-6045.

The Pasadena Humane Society spays and neuters Chihuahuas and Pit Bulls and Pit Bull mixes for free in select areas surrounding Pasadena, and sterilizes all other dogs from select areas at a low cost.  Visit for more information.

Fix Nation spay and neuters feral cats for free and tame cats for a low cost.  Visit for more information.

For a complete list of Spay and Neuter Clinics in Los Angeles County area, please check (Note: This website cannot be viewed in Mozilla Firefox.)