Sex and Relationships

Be Kind To All Kinds

Young Staten Island Student’s Relationship with Rescue Animals

By: Santiella Jeune Dumeny

Kemberlin Juarez has a heart for rescuing stray animals. Credit:

Staten Island teen Kemberlin Juarez battles animal cruelty while spending her free time assisting veterinarians rescue. This dedication to helping animals first started when Kemberlin rescued an abandoned kitten. Juarez realized the kitten was alone and brought the kitten to the vet. The vet then assisted Juarez and explained why the kitten was abandoned.

“The mother completely detached herself from the newborn,” said Dr. Cheng. “The kitten was left alone for too long.”

After rescuing this stray, Juarez realized she couldn’t stop there. She decided to volunteer at an animal shelter so she could help bring all strays to lovable homes. 

When she started working at the shelter she noticed that most of the animals came from abusive homes. After seeing so many abused animals, Kemberlin made it her mission to help animal rescue teams find more innocent strays that have been neglected by their owners. 

“I like the idea of helping strays,” said Juarez. “I want to volunteer at the animal shelter.”

Juarez states that shelters aren’t happy places where they keep pets until they are able to get owners. Sometimes, the shelter faces many difficulties such as underfunding or overcrowding. 

Animal owners tend to throw pets in the shelter the minute they become an inconvenience. For example, when animal owners don’t get their pets neutered or spayed, the pets will end up pregnant. 

Once the homeowners have too many pets, it becomes an overabundance. Homeowners only have two choices to sell the litter or to throw the animals in shelters.

Fortunately, the animals in the shelters like the one Juarez volunteered at are treated with care. While at the shelter Juarez’s responsibilities consisted of cleaning the animal’s cages daily. Juarez also had to feed them and give them water three times a day and give them baths to keep the animals looking nice and clean. 

Having these responsibilities helped Juarez learn how to manage her emotions. She also learned to be understanding of people’s situations because she had to take care of animals who weren’t wanted. Working at this shelter became an emotional process for Juarez since she gained an emotional attachment to the animals.

After leaving the shelter one night, Juarez drove off to her friend’s house. While driving around her friend’s neighborhood, she discovered a small pitbull dumped on the side of the road. The dog had several cuts and some burn marks. 

When Juarez and her friend approached the pitbull, the pitbull started to back up and growl. Juarez could tell the pitbull was scared so they remained calm, and tried to get the pitbull to come to them. When the pitbull wouldn’t respond, they tried to chase the pitbull and grab it. After several attempts to catch the pitbull, the puppy finally grew tired and collapsed. 

Juarez grabbed a blanket from her car, wrapped it around the pitbull, and took it to the veterinarian. They washed the pitbull and the veterinarian gave the pitbull shots.

 Juarez brought the pitbull home and gave it shelter until she could find a loving home for the animal. She convinced her friend to keep the pitbull and ever since then the pitbull has turned from a petrified puppy into a loyal companion.

“I convinced my friend to keep the dog,” said Juarez. “The dog would feel right at home.”

 Juarez was always willing to help the strays but she has now started influencing others to help rescue strays as well. She told me that strays are animals who often go through tough circumstances with their owners. 

Juarez’s experiences with strays allowed her to open her eyes to see the world around her. Juarez now sees this field as a future profession. 

“After helping strays get off the street,” said Juarez. “ I knew this was the career I was meant to take on.”


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