The faces of abused and neglected dogs are enough to hurt any animal lover TMs heart. But out of the despair comes hope. "I look up to her," Melissa Molina said. She calls her friend Claudia Bedon a saint. Claudia is a pet whisper of sorts who not only understands animals and the love they deserve but a person who gives up so much of herself so they can have a loving home, according to Melissa.
The San Juan woman teams up with a rescue network in the Rio Grande Valley and has fostered nearly 40 dogs over the last few years. Dogs like Petey who's still recovering from cigarette burns and his tail being cut off. There are about a dozen others just like him at Claudia TMs home. But with limited space there, she plans to move. Melissa wants to help her friend with money to build new kennels for her selfless work. She turned to FNB Insurance and Action 4 News to Pay it 4Ward. "I want to give this to you because I know what you do for animals," Melissa said. "You've been there for me when my dog passed away. I want to give this to you because you deserve it Claudia. You really do. And on behalf of FNB Insurance and Action 4 News, I want to Pay it 4Ward." Claudia is awarded $400 in cash. "That's for you," Melissa said. The surprise is overwhelming. Claudia says the cash for her kindness will go a long way. "Thank you," she said with tears. "It means a lot. It will really help out right now." FNB Insurance Agency teams up with Action 4 News each week to recognize people who selflessly give to others. This is the first someone TMs been recognized for their work with animals. Jose Carlos De La Colina, spokesperson with FNB Insurance, calls the honor much deserved. "Everyone loves animals," he said. "But not everyone gives so much of their own resources and so much of their own life to help strangers pets and pets without a home." Claudia hopes to one day change the way animals are treated. "I'm not leaving to go back to Chicago," she said. "I'm not going to leave until something happens and something changes. I'm not leaving." Making a difference in the lives of not just people but animals too; it's one more way to Pay it 4Ward.