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Fostering love and paying it forward: Beaverton family adopts special needs pets, spends 2020 volunteering

After fostering and adopting a blind kitten last Christmas, the Lundin family is adding a special-needs puppy to their troop in 2020.

BEAVERTON, Ore. — In the year that has, at times, felt like a decade, the Lundin family is getting through it by giving back. The pandemic has brought its challenges, but for this family of four, there’s some comfort in chaos.

There’s 19-year-old Cassandra. She’s now a freshman and Oregon State. Then there’s nearly 16-year-old Elijah, ready to get his license, 14-year-old Samantha, and mom, Alanna.

A full house with two teens and a young adult, plus the pitter-patter of plenty of pets. A few of their own and even more they foster.

Talking over Zoom on Christmas Eve, you could hear the scratch of paws on the floor, kitten meows, and the jingling collars in the background.

When asked how the whirlwind year of 2020 has been, Alana barely had time to respond, “crazy,” before a kitten jumped in and tried to take over the interview.

That’s just business as usual for the Lundin family and they wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Same old, same old for us, pretty much. Lots of animals,” Samantha said.

The Beaverton family fosters animals in need. We met them last Christmas when they took in Ilene; a blind kitten from the Oregon Humane Society. They decided to adopt her and be her forever family.

RELATED: ‘It's been a huge blessing’ | Blind, abandoned kitten adopted by family of adopted children

“There was definitely an instant connection when mom and Eli came and brought her home. Just because she had been without love for so long,” Cassandra told KGW in 2019.

At the time, the three teens had just recently been adopted by Alanna and they formed a special bond with the then kitten.

“For me when I heard about it, it connected with our story. Like, we weren't treated well. We didn't have stable food. We would go weeks without eating sometimes,” Samantha said. “Hearing about her being found like that when she was just a baby, in a dumpster wrapped in a Taco Bell wrapper, it was terrible. I felt like we could give her a home that she could enjoy and love. So, I feel like that is what our new mom has done for us and we can do that for her.”

Since then, the world has changed around them; from the pandemic to civil unrest, and Oregon’s historic wildfires. The Lundins have responded with a helping hand.

“I want them to grow up being aware of other people’s problems and if we can’t help out in a financial way where we write checks. Then, what other ways, what tangible ways can we reach out and help,” Alanna said.

Over the course of 2020, they sewed masks, cleaned up trash, and volunteered with the Washington County Sheriffs Office for wildfire relief.

“We made, like 700 masks for the sheriff’s office for their inmates and stuff,” Samantha said.

“I think my favorite was when we helped with the wildfires and went and helped clean up after the burned down homes,” Cassandra said.

“I did enjoy going up to help with the wildfires. I met some really great people there. It was great,” Elijah said.  

To cap off the year they’re adding another furry family member to the troop, an 8-week-old puppy named Nemo.

The pup was born with a birth defect. He’ll need an amputation, but first, he needed a family and he found a special one in the Lundins.

The siblings say this year has taught them a lot. The lesson Samantha hopes others will bring into 2021 is to pay it forward when you can.

“I feel like, though it’s really bad and terrible and everyone does not like COVID, in a way it helped to have more people volunteering and helping out the community,” she said.

Alanna continues to foster children and pets in a busy house with a whole lotta heart.

Imagine Peace for Pups Rescue is helping to sponsor Nemo, raising donations for his veterinary care, and prosthetics. If you’d like to donate or learn more visit imaginepeaceforpupsrescue.com.