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Meet the woman trying to find homes for St. Louis pets surrendered during the pandemic

More and more pets are being surrendered because of the financial hardships of the pandemic. Weng Horak of CARE STL is helping to find them new homes.

ST. LOUIS — We don't always learn about humanity from humans.

"I've always wanted to be the kind of person that my dog thinks I am," Julie Siebert said with a laugh.

Because of the pandemic, it's been a stressful time not just for us but also for our animals. More and more owners can't care for their pets.

"So we've actually seen a lot of owner surrenders, and it is heartbreaking," explained Weng Horak. "Sometimes we cry with them. We give them time to, you know, spend time with their pet in the room."

Horak calls herself the Chief Lifesaving Officer at CARE STL, the non-profit that runs St. Louis' Animal Shelter. Pandemic or not, she believes that care isn't a noun or even a verb. It's a promise.

"You know, when they come into the shelter and I look at the pets and they are so shut down," Horak tells us. "I want this dog to feel like, I'm here for you. I'm getting emotional about it."

Horak, who came to St.Louis from the Philippines in 2008, is a former corporate executive who started the shelter with her favorite breed of humans: animal lovers.

"We've always liked dogs. Dogs and cats. And, I guess, as we got older we just wanted to help," said Mike Siebert, a shelter volunteer.

Mike and his wife Julie are part of CARE STL's army of volunteers, who walk the dogs, clean their cages, and just show them love.

Recently, the whole shelter was frantic when one of their rescue's escaped from a foster home. Naveen's original owner had died, and he was found 9 days later close to his former home.

"Sadly, he probably was hit by a car and his femur was broken," Horak tells us.

After paying for his surgery, CARE's volunteers are loving him back to health in his new foster home.

"The foster posted last night that this dog Naveen will not leave her side," said a smiling Horak.

CARE STL is a no-kill shelter and Horak hopes to make Missouri a no-kill state. Her first priority is second chances for every animal.

"She's got a huge heart," said Julie Siebert. "It's so big"

Weng Horak and Care STL. Rescuing animals in the pandemic so they can rescue us.

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