WESTWOOD, N.J. — Haley Andresen is often greeted by canines when she comes home from school.
None of them belong to her, though, since the Westwood freshman has been fostering dogs from Tenafly's Pet ResQ to help Robyn Urman.
Monday was different. A 4-month-old golden retriever puppy, something the 15-year-old has always wanted, awaited her arrival in the backyard as a token of her hard work for Pet ResQ.
“There are very few children who go out of there way to do what this kid does for animals,” Urman said. “She makes me cry at least every day and sends me thank you notes about how I’ve been such a role model. She thanks me for allowing her to clean dog poop.”
Haley's mother, Linda Andresen, knows the bedtime story of a boy throwing starfish into the ocean well.
It's long been her daughter's favorite, serving as a reflection of her values as she cares for Urman's dogs.
As the story goes, a little boy is throwing starfish back into the ocean one by one when an old man approaches him, concerned that there are far too many for him to save.
But the boy says if he can save one, then he knows he’s made a difference.
“At times it can be overwhelming to think of all the animals or people in the world that need help,” Linda Andresen said. “[Haley] likes to work through it one starfish at a time and even saving just one makes it worth it.”
The hope for Urman is that Andresen will inspire children to follow in her footsteps.
“Everyone has 24 hours in a day to make a difference — that’s supposedly what humanity should be,” the rescuer said. “It’s just a matter of finding the right cause.”