Meena Kumar at nine months old was found abandoned in a basket on a college campus in Pune, India. After spending a year in an orphanage, she was adopted by a couple in Mumbai and brought to San Jose, California.
In Mumbai, Meena would watch over a litter of puppies at her home. When she came to the United States, almost every weekend included a trip to the Humane Society or to Muttville Senior Dog Rescue.
Muttville is a cage-free dog rescue that gives senior dogs a “second chance at life,” according to their website. The organization was founded by 2016 CNN Hero Sherri Franklin and rescues about 1,000 dogs per year and runs mostly with the help of volunteers.
Meena first heard of the rescue from a neighbor whose dog had been adopted from Muttville. The neighbor shared stories of how senior dogs are often left behind in shelters. With tender love and care, those dogs can make great companions.
“More people should adopt senior dogs,” says Meena. “They give you the same unconditional love as any other dog.”
Meena understood what it felt like to be left behind, and wanted to help the senior dogs find the loving homes they deserve, just like she did. The problem was, Meena had to be 17-years-old to volunteer at Muttville, and she was only 12.
She wanted to find a way to support Muttville and came up with an idea. She advertised on Nextdoor offering pet sitting and Pet Fairy Services was born.
Meena began pet sitting in her own home for her neighbors and school friends with the goal of supporting Muttville. “You are never too young to start a business,” says Meena.
With rates of $35 per day and several years of hard work, Meena has managed to raise $7,000 for Muttville. That number doubled to $14,000, thanks to a matching donation program with Intel, where her father works. The Intel Volunteer Matching Grant Program encourages employees to donate time, money or labor to nonprofits that give back to their communities, according to Intel’s website.
Meena plans to continue working with Muttville and hopes that more people will adopt older mutts from shelters during this pandemic.
“We need their love more than ever,” she says.