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U of I Student’s Non-Profit Finds Homes For Senior Dogs, Cats

CHICAGO (CBS) — She might be one of Illinois’ youngest founders of a not-for-profit, and her mission is to help the oldest dogs and cats find homes.

It was three years ago when Zoe Kharasch adopted Newman, an old dog at a Lake County shelter.

“He looked super-pathetic and we couldn’t leave without him,” she said. “I just really like the things that normal people don’t, and I just saw him, and I knew that nobody else would want him. So I figured I would love him.”

Newman, a Chihuahua-Yorkshire terrier mix, is now 15 years old. Kharasch, 21, and an animal science major at the University of Illinois, said Newman inspired her to start Newman Nation, an organization to place older dogs and cats in homes.

“Having a senior animal is pretty much the easiest thing in the world, and nobody seems to know that or know how great they are. Everyone just kind of dumps them at an old age,” she said. “So after getting Newman, I decided I wanted to advocate for seniors specifically, because I’ve always loved animals.”

Kharasch and the foster families she works with are giving homes to seven dogs and cats right now, and she said she’s just getting started.

“From 9 years old to a 20-year-old cat. She was dropped off at Chicago Animal Control at 20 years old, and the owner asked if they had any puppies available for adoption,” she said.

She said she never tries to understand people’s reasoning for giving up senior pets.

“I just go and I pick them up and get them into a home,” she said. “I see these little old animals that people look down upon and criticize, and I just want them and want them to feel loved.”

You can find more information on Newman Nation on their website, on Facebook, and on Instagram.

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