Young entrepreneur brings generosity to adoptable pets

Julian Lin and Julie Castle sitting by one another, each with cats in their laps
After his lemonade stand was robbed, 8-year-old Julian Lin visited Best Friends Animal Sanctuary to meet CEO Julie Castle.
By Michelle Sathe

With his natty hat and crisp button-up shirts, Julian Lin, aka Julian Business Man, makes quite the impression. It’s his actions, however, that really set this 8-year-old apart.

The young entrepreneur runs a lemonade stand in his hometown of New York City to raise funds for nonprofits, including Best Friends Animal Society to help with our goal to bring the country to no-kill by 2025.

[Elementary school teacher gets kids in his class to help save pets' lives]

To date, Julian has raised thousands of dollars between his “brick-and-mortar” business and its corresponding website. Unfortunately, this June, Julian’s lemonade stand was robbed, a story that caught the attention of Best Friends CEO Julie Castle. She sent Julian a box of gifts, along with a letter:

“I read about what happened with your lemonade stand recently. I want you to know how sorry I am, but how inspired I am by your refusal to let those thieves shake you and stop you from doing what you love.

Speaking of things you love, I know you love dogs. I’d like to invite you and your family to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, where you can meet dogs, cats, birds, bunnies, horses, and other barnyard animals!

Keep up the good work. You’ll change the world one day; I just know it.”

Spreading kindness at the Sanctuary

Julian accepted the invitation, visiting the Sanctuary with his mother and a family friend.

“This all feels like a dream,” Julian said, looking around at the red rock canyons surrounding the Sanctuary.

During his visit, Julian toured the Sanctuary’s animal care areas, interacting with pigs, horses, bunnies, goats, and more. Later, he spent time with Julie at the Sanctuary’s adoption hub, where the duo met dogs and cats available for adoption.

While spending time with cats, Julian presented a check to Best Friends in the amount of $150 (the amount that was stolen from his lemonade stand) from Community-Police Relations Foundation. He also told Julie that he is raising money via his website for a family friend who lost his home in the Maui wildfires.

[Twelve-year-old forgoes his birthday party, has all his friends volunteer with homeless pets instead]

Julie was clearly touched by meeting with the young entrepreneur.

“Julian is an incredible young man,” she says. “His dedication to helping others is an amazing trait in someone so young; plus his business savvy is astonishing. I look forward to watching Julian continue to do great things in the world.”

Julian was also impressed by his meeting with Julie.

"She was really nice,” he says. “I could tell she had lots of sympathy for the animals.”

Photo by Michelle Sathe

Enjoying a sleepover with a dog

After meeting Julie, Julian and his group took an adoptable dog from the Sanctuary named Kearney to the Best Friends Roadhouse and Mercantile for a sleepover. Kearney was a very well-behaved guest, cuddling with Julian and sleeping through the night. Julian gave Kearney a huge hug upon returning him to the Sanctuary and heading home to New York.

Several days later, Kearney was adopted, which made Julian very happy.

“I was overjoyed that Kearney got adopted,” he says. “He's one of the cutest ones there. How could someone not adopt him?”

Julian went on to thank Julie for the invitation to the Sanctuary. “I really enjoyed my stay,” he says. “Thank you for helping all these animals in need."

People can donate to Julian’s Best Friends fundraiser for the animals online.

Let's make every shelter and every community no-kill by 2025

Our goal at Best Friends is to support all animal shelters in the U.S. in reaching no-kill by 2025. No-kill means saving every dog and cat in a shelter who can be saved, accounting for community safety and good quality of life for pets. 

Shelter staff can’t do it alone. Saving animals in shelters is everyone’s responsibility, and it takes support and participation from the community. No-kill is possible when we work together thoughtfully, honestly, and collaboratively.

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You can help save homeless pets

You can help end the killing in shelters and save the lives of homeless pets when you foster, adopt, and advocate for the dogs and cats who need it most.

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