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Humane Society of Greater Rochester

Imagine this: An animal lover who has been part of the animal welfare community since she was born. A toddler who has met countless foster animals. A five-year-old who asked her friends to donate supplies to her local humane society instead of buying her birthday presents. A six-year-old feeding neonatal kittens under her mother’s supervision.

Who is this incredible kid? Her name is Jenna.

The importance of being kind to animals began at a young age for Jenna thanks to her mother, who has been a Veterinary Technician at Lollypop Farm, a non-profit animal shelter, for over 20 years now.

Now, at just 11 years old, Jenna is a friend to all animals. However, it’s clear that one animal, in particular, has snuggled their way deep into her heart: rats!

Jenna has had four rats up to this point, all unique in their own way. “Pua” would love when Jenna let her roam around her dresser drawers. “Nate” enjoyed belly scratches. “Teddy” loved snacks and hanging out in Jenna’s sweatshirt pocket. “Gouda” is her latest addition who loves learning new tricks like giving paw.

There are countless stories of how Jenna has helped people change their mindset on how they view rats. Her compassion for these little friends has helped many people realize how great rats can be as companions. For example, did you know that some rats enjoy snuggling up for a nap with their caretaker? Or that they experience emotional connections with other rats and form strong bonds with each other?

Jenna participated in Lollypop Farm’s summer camp for three summers and would bring her pet rats with her to let the other campers meet them. Many campers had never met rats before or were even a little wary at first, but by the end of the camp week, the group loved Nate and Teddy, and some campers were even asking their parents if they could adopt a pet rat!

When Lollypop Farm was faced with its largest Humane Law Enforcement seizure to date, where over 800 animals were rescued from inhumane conditions, Jenna was ready to help from the beginning. She would come in to clean mice tanks, give rats fresh water, and make sure these small friends were well taken care of.

Once the animals were in Lollypop Farm’s custody and available for adoption, Jenna was at the forefront of the marketing efforts. She was in a promotional video, went on the local news, and posed for photos, all in an effort to promote an upcoming adoption event called “It’s a Small World, Afterall,” where hundreds of rats and mice would be waiting for homes. She was pivotal in spreading awareness about how amazing rats are as pets.

On the day of the adoption event, Jenna proudly brought her two rats, Nate and Teddy, and offered the community meet-and-greet opportunities with them. Whether someone had never met a pet rat or they were an avid rat-lover, everyone who visited Jenna, Nate, and Teddy that day left the room smiling.

Looking to the future, Jenna is interested in a career in the animal welfare community, specifically humane law enforcement, where she can not only help animals in need of life-saving care but also help educate pet-loving community members who need guidance on how to care for their pets.

Jenna is a spectacular 11-year-old and we cannot wait to see the amazing things she’ll continue to do for animals in the future.