Monday, November 30, 2020

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People & Pets

Stray keeper

1/1/2020

Youngest Puppy Jake trainer loves animals.

Aundrea Cox poses with Digger (left) and Spirit, a dog she’s training for the Puppy Jake Foundation.

If Aundrea Cox could adopt every animal from the shelter or rescue any stray animal, she would. And she’s already got a good start.

In Aundrea’s short life, she’s rescued dozens of animals. She’s nursed a raccoon, deer and a possum back to health, sending them back into the wild. Currently, she has three dogs, four cats, fish, turtles and one horse.

Aundrea, 19, has been passionate about animals her whole life.

“Everything I do revolves around them. I’ve raised a variety of animals and won’t say no to anything,” she admits.

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She belonged to 4-H, showing dogs and horses. Since age 7, she’s ridden horses and participated in state and county fair competitions.

Now in college, Aundrea is attending school to major in animal science and veterinarian pharmaceutical sales. She’s choosing the sales end of the profession so she can raise money to rescue animals.

“I want my life to be rescue, rehab and rehome. That’s my motto of what I’d like to do. My purpose is to serve animals,” she says. “I want the best for all creatures.”

Since Aundrea lives in the country, people often dump unwanted animals. It breaks her heart to find abandoned pets. Several stray cats and litters of kittens have found their way to her. One dog she found was from the river, close to her home.

“I heard a dog barking. It was a mutt terrier, and she was nearly drowning, trying to make it through the rapids,” she explains. “We went and got her out, and she’s been my best dog ever since.”

Due to her love of animals, she became a dog trainer for the Puppy Jake Foundation, an organization that gives trained puppies to veterans. She began training puppies at age 15.

“They never had someone that young train a dog. Through 4-H, I trained dogs, and Puppy Jake fuels my desire and love of training. They’re impressed with my dedication,” she says.

Currently, she’s training Spirit, a dog that she’ll give away this spring. She’s met several veterans who have received puppies. People have asked, how can you give up a dog?

“When you hear from the families, it’s worth it. It can help change a life. Dogs have a sixth sense, and it’s indescribable to see the connection between dogs and veterans,” she says.

Aundrea admits to focusing her life on animals and cites reasons why she loves them.

“They’re loyal no matter what. Animals don’t have drama or a corrupt society,” she says. “Animals make me feel valuable. People could learn more from animals and strive to be more like them.” ♦

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