Derek Downey, left with bell, Kona the rescued dog and Jeff Baldauf.

What: Ben’s Bells promote kindness and community involvement. Each week a person who makes Tucson better is “belled.”

Last week’s recipient: Derek Downey.

Nominated by: Jeff Baldauf.

Why: For his dedication to helping neglected animals. Downey has rescued many stray pets off the street, including a pregnant dog that was abandoned on the side of the road. He cared for the dog and adopted out all of her puppies. He rescued a blind dog from a busy street and one that he found foraging in a garbage bin. This summer, when it was 115 degrees outside, Downey helped rescue a dog whose companion had succumbed to the extreme heat. They removed hundreds of ticks from the dehydrated dog, bought food, paid for her to be licensed, chipped, vaccinated and treated. Kona is just one of many animals he has saved, and is now happy and healthy along with the rest of the growing pack of wayward animals, Baldauf, who helped with the rescue, wrote in his nomination letter: “He has spent thousands of dollars on caring for abandoned and neglected cats and dogs. His attention to the little animals is heartwarming.”

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

More info and to nominate someone: Go to to submit a name. Go to or call 622-1379 for more information.