The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

Copper’s Dream, becoming a reality

Junior Samantha Wang and sister found non-profit to save dogs from euthanasia

It all started with the request that almost every child makes at some point in their lives — the hints at the dinner table, the not-so-subtle reminders every morning and every night.  At the age of eight, class of 1995 alumna Jennifer Wang’s wish for a pet dog was answered, and two days before Christmas she received Copper, her cockier spaniel companion for the next 15 years. 

After attending Stanford University and then teaching high school students for six years, Jennifer rescued four dogs and successfully placed them with families.  In 2008, after taking a break for three years to attend law school, she partnered with her sister junior Samantha Wang to continue saving animals.  They co-founded Copper’s Dream Animal Rescue, a non-profit corporation aimed to help end euthanasia of adoptable dogs and cats.

Euthanasia is the act of humanely killing an animal, most commonly via injection.  However, according to the American Humane Association, there are about four million adoptable animals euthanized yearly due to lack of shelter facilities.  Copper’s Dream’s goal is to eventually make the entire country free of euthanasia. Jennifer experienced the pain of having a pet euthanized when Copper had to be put down after having had a stroke. 

"[Jennifer] thought it would be [Copper’s] dream that we would be able to save all these lives," Samantha said. 

Most of the organization is currently based in San Francisco, where Jennifer runs the North Bay chapter, with the South Bay chapter in Cupertino run by Samantha.  As with many new start-ups and non-profits, Copper’s Dream has gone through many growing pains.

"Since I’m a director and founder, if anything goes wrong, I have to fix it. If there’s a really problematic dog, then my sister or I have to foster it," Samantha said.

One such dog was Sasha, a two-year-old black Labrador mix.  Her behavioral problems and size were slight hindrances in finding her a home.

"She did actually nip my leg and another lady’s [leg] because she was so excited and agitated," Samantha said.  "I ended up fostering her for two and a half months, but luckily we found her a home."

Samantha and Jennifer started rescuing dogs by themselves, with each of them only able to take a couple of dogs at a time.  Realizing that it was difficult to make a big impact that way, they reached out to the community. With the additional help of new staff members, Copper’s Dream now has a foster family community of about 15 families, including the Wangs.

"It’s become a lot easier to actually be able to help when shelters call us and say, ‘we have these dogs who are going to be put down, can you take them,’" Jennifer said.

The dogs come primarily from the Bakersfield shelter, although Copper’s Dream has also rescued dogs from Lindsay, Salinas and Merced.  Unfortunately, about one in every dozen dogs ends up having a serious medical issue.

"With [rescued dog] Abby, she got sick within 10 hours of getting dropped off to us," Jennifer said.  "Her vet bill is now at over $1400.  Just from a financial perspective, that’s a huge obstacle.  [Illness is] basically, as we’ve learned, kind of unavoidable in these high-kill environments."

As of Dec. 5, Copper’s Dream has successfully saved 120 dogs from being euthanized.  The organization advertises on its website and online marketplaces such as Craigslist. Adoption fairs have also proven to be successful in finding caring families for the dogs. 

"As I grew older, I basically had an awareness that thousands and thousands of dogs are basically dying in our shelters — puppies, adults, dogs of all breeds," Jennifer said.  "When you form such a close relationship with a particular animal, the thought that thousands and hundreds of thousands more, just like that animal, as loving, as affectionate, are basically being killed, seems unacceptable."

Copper’s dream is finally becoming a reality.

To learn more about Copper’s Dream Animal Rescue, visit



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