Young is an animal lover — someone who not only says she loves animals, but goes out and does everything she can to try and help them. She rescues abandoned and abused cats in Worcester, Massachusetts and heads Private Citizens for Pets in Peril — an organization based in Worcester that is working to promote awareness about animal rights and abuse against animals.
But when Young got Juno in 2009, the little dog inspired her take her quest to help animals even further.
Juno was two months old and sick with pneumonia when Young adopted her and nursed her back to health with a lot of “TLC, sleepless nights and a steam shower running.” The pair quickly bonded, and soon Juno was traveling with Young 24/7. And even while Juno herself was slowly getting over her serious pneumonia, the little dog would cuddle and clean the rescued kittens that Young was also caring for.
Thanks to Young’s love and dedication, Juno is now a five-year-old, “six pound ball of energy with a big personality!” For one thing, according to Young, Juno does not know she is a dog but really thinks she is a little person.
“Juno does actually watch [the television series] Criminal Minds, and many think it’s a joke, but when that theme song comes on the TV, she knows it’s time for her show,” Young says. “She also knows that Monday to Friday when I get ready for work that she is to get ready also,” Young goes on to explain. “She knows that Saturday and Sundays are her days off.”
But there’s a lot more to Juno than her love of Criminal Minds and being absolutely adorable; she’s an advocate for animals and people.
Young started a Facebook page called Juno’s Place which, to date, has more than 120,000 fans from all around the world. It was started as a way for Juno to spread the word about various animal causes, such as spay/neuter, working against BSL, and promoting adoption. “I have noticed that I can talk until I am blue in the face about spay/neuter and kindness to animals and people listen, Young says, “but when Juno states her opinion, the masses seem to respond more.”
Indeed, it can be challenging for those involved in animal rescue and advocacy to feel as though they are doing all they can to promote awareness and open society’s eyes to the struggles that voiceless animals face every day.
“[Many people] think animal abuse and neglect is happening everywhere else but in their own state,” Young says. “We are trying to get many to understand it is in their own backyard; they just have to look and be aware.”
But Juno’s Facebook page is not just about bringing awareness to various animal causes, it’s also about helping humans and spreading happiness.
“We get many emails and comments from her pack that say [Juno] is a bright spot in their day, Young says. “They are going through a divorce, taking care of a sick relative or friend, have just lost someone be it human or animal; many suffer from depression and they all say at least once a day that Juno made them smile. Juno‘s Place hopes to continue to grow and make a difference in the lives of humans and animals.”
In addition to an Amazon wish list of items to help feed shelter cats and homeless cats, Juno’s Facebook page links to her Zazzle store where all profits from objects sold go to help with the costs of medical care and food for the shelter cats, as well as two managed feral cat colonies in Worcester.
And because she’s just so inspiring and giving, Juno has also helped raise more than $1,000 in supplies for a local Worcester school where 98 percent of the children live below the poverty level, and has had much success participating in charities like Feet Need Shoes, a charitable organization which collects shoes for those in need.
What’s next for this tiny Chi with the huge heart, and mom, Deborah? Young says that Juno will be writing another book, and is currently doing publicity and “pawographing” for her first book which came out at the end of 2013 and features a selection of photos and posts from Juno’s Place. She’s also an “emerging hero” nominee in the 2014 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards.
All photos used with permission from Juno’s Facebook page unless otherwise stated.
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About Crystal Gibson: A child-sized Canadian expat in France who is fluent in French and sarcasm. Owned by a neurotic Doxie mix, a Garfield look-alike, and two needy Sphynx cats. An aspiring writer and pet photographer with a love of coffee and distaste for French administration, she can be found as @PinchMom on Twitter.