After rescuing her dog Teddy from a kill shelter, Annie Blumenfeld, 17, was inspired to build her own nonprofit, "Wags 4 Hope," where she said she has raised close to $40,000 for animal shelters across the country.
"I'm the only person on my board," Blumenfeld of Connecticut told ABC News. "But my mom does drive me everywhere. She's really great with that."
Blumenfeld, who raises money by painting pictures of her donors’ pets, said she started "Wags 4 Hope" in 2012 after learning that Teddy suffered from heartworm disease, a potentially fatal condition spread through the bite of a mosquito.
"It just broke my heart to know that he doesn’t understand the situation he was in, but overall, he's doing much better now," she said. "I thought it would be a great avenue to learn about this disease to speak to veterinarians about how preventable it is."
After Teddy survived an emotional treatment process, Blumenfeld launched "Wags 4 Hope,” where she advocates pet responsibility and spreads heartworm disease awareness.
The high school junior is now fighting to pass HB-5422, a bill addressing awareness of heartworm disease and the Standard Dog Licensing form that would require it to indicate that dogs receive heartworm prevention medication.
"June is National Dog License month," Blumenfeld said. "I hope other states will follow the change if there is enough room in their budgets to do so."
On March 7, 2014, Blumenfeld testified about her bill proposal to raise awareness about heartworm disease in dogs.
A representative from the Connecticut Department of Agriculture told ABC News that the bill has not been passed at this time.
But Blumenfeld said the agency worked with her and added a flier to each license application, alerting potential dog owners that heartworm disease is preventable..
To contribute to Blumenfeld's cause, or to request a painting, visit Wags4Hope.org.