Name: Julia Wallace
From: Chula Vista, California
School: EastLake High School
Starting at a young age, I have developed a strong passion for dogs, since they have taught me what true loyalty and unconditional love is. With millions of homeless animals nationwide, I find rescues and shelters to be extremely important organizations. When I was fifteen, my parents finally allowed me to get involved with Chihuahua Rescue of San Diego, where I began fostering and volunteering at adoption events every week.
At our adoption events ranging from four to seven hours long, I care for the Chihuahuas and answer any questions potential adopters may have. These events give me experience with speaking to adults on how to properly care for animals that were abused, traumatized, or ill. I also use these events as an opportunity to spread awareness on the importance of spaying and neutering, as well as adopting rather than buying animals. By volunteering every Saturday, I have developed skills in communication, dedication, professionalism, and responsibility. Though these events are far from my home and take away time that could be used for homework, I know that they are the best shot our dogs have for finding their forever home.
My initial idea of rescuing was completely different than the reality of it. Fostering is not simply providing a home to a dog. The very first foster dog I had was a ten-year-old with seizures, bronchitis, a heart murmur, and an enlarged liver and heart. The next foster I had was a Chihuahua whose owners were incarcerated, and left her in a car for days without reporting her presence. She was extremely
traumatized, and knew nothing about being a dog. After plenty of time and patience, I gained her trust, and taught her how to jump, walk up stairs, cuddle in bed, and play. The most devastating moment of fostering was when the first dog my family personally took out of the shelter lost control of her bowels and stopped eating. After days of worry, my dad got the call we were hoping to never get; she was being euthanized. I felt defeated and guilty knowing she never got the life she deserved. In that moment, I learned the truth of what fostering is: it is nurturing sick dogs back to health, gaining the trust of the traumatized, and dealing with heartbreak constantly, but still
continuing because of the ones that can be saved.
Though rescuing is a tough business to be in, it comes with great reward. The best feeling is knowing that you gave an animal a second chance at life, and they finally got the family they deserve. Rescuing may not make a difference to the world, but it makes a difference to the lives of over four hundred dogs Chihuahua Rescue of San Diego saves each year, along with the lives of their new family members. My purpose is to better the lives of the innocent and helpless, and my hope is that one day the number of homeless and neglected animals subsides completely.