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Family raises money for Help for Homeless Pets

Phuc Huynh, right, and children Hung, Nini and Long (not pictured) clean up storm debris at a West End home as they earn money for Help of Homeless Pets.

Angie Cook was stunned when a Billings family pooled its resources and talents to raise more than $1,600 to help her crowded animal rescue operation, Help for Homeless Pets.

Hung, 11, Nini, 9, and Long Huynh, 7, have spent most of their summer break selling lemonade during garage sales and offering their lawn-mowing and raking skills to neighbors and family to raise money for the facility.

“It is very much appreciated,” said Cook, the director of Help for Homeless Pets. “It’s kind of a struggle taking care of all these community pets. Just any old thing is appreciated, no matter how small or big. Something like this is really quite a surprise.”

The children, along with their father, Phuc Huynh, spent part of Thursday mowing, raking leaves and removing branches blown into a cousin’s yard from the

weekend’s windstorm.

The group charges $20 per yard and usually gets paid more once people find out what the money is going toward.

Huynh said the largest donation so far was $500 for four cups of lemonade.

After looking for a shelter dog of their own, Huynh said he and his wife couldn’t help but try to think of a way to give back.

“We went there a couple of years back and the condition of the place, and just the number of dogs — we felt we needed to help,” Huynh said.

Cook said the shelter has around 125 cats and dogs, with numbers growing during kitten season.

With all those bodies in a small building off Hannon Drive on the South Side, Cook said it can get awfully warm in the summer.

To help cool the animals down, Cook said they used the $1,600 to purchase 20 fans for the facility.

“It was like a godsend,” Cook said. “It’s so hard to keep these animals cooled down with this heat, and a lot of our fans we did have had pretty well seen their days.”

The Huynh family hasn’t stopped at $1,600. The children have already added another $200 to their donation jar.

“If we can get a larger shelter, they could all stay inside,” Hung said as he prepared to mow a lawn off Broadwater Avenue. “That’s the biggest goal we’ve got.”