Local teen finds creative way to help HIV-positive dogs at Houston Humane Society


HOUSTON – In honor of ‘Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet’, we’re shining the spotlight on a local teenager educating people about dogs with heartworms. While volunteering for the Houston Humane Society, Riley Burwell noticed that some puppies were often overlooked due to their condition. Through creative fundraising, Burwell found a way to help sponsor their treatment and find them forever homes.

“I noticed that dogs with heartworms don’t get as much attention, and people are afraid of them because they don’t know what heartworms are,” Burwell said.

Heartworms are a parasite commonly found in dogs that occur when the animal is bitten by an infected mosquito. Parasites live inside the heart and can cause serious health problems. Preventive treatment is widely recommended by veterinarians because heartworm treatment is long and expensive. In Houston, the disease is common due to the prevalence of mosquitoes and many animal shelters suffer from the disease.

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“I actually joined a leadership program here at the Houston Humane Society, and we did a project and I decided to fundraise for dogs with heartworms,” Burwell said.

Burwell combined his talent for art with his love of animals to paint and order pieces to buy. Additionally, she has started making dog biscuits that people can buy at the shelter. All proceeds from sales go to fund heartworm treatment at the Houston Humane Society.

“It’s a passion of mine and a hobby,” Burwell said. “It takes me a long time, but I love to do it.”

In addition to raising money for heartworm treatment, Burwell hopes people learn about heartworms and give these puppies a chance to live long, happy lives.

“I hope they realize that heartworm dogs need a home. I hope they recognize them more, ”said Burwell. “All animals deserve attention and love.”

For more information on how you can help, visit the Houston Humane Society website here.

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