Helping Animals Out


Volunteering as a form of pet therapy

Mae Yen Yap / Culture Editor

Leaving for college can be difficult, but leaving a pet can make it even harder.

Luckily, for Ohio University students, there are ways to volunteer and help animals at the same time. Paws for a Cause and Bobcats of the Shelter Dogs are among some of the organizations students can join on campus.

Both organizations work in support of the Athens County Dog Shelter to help raise awareness, funds and find forever homes for stray dogs. Although the two organizations focus mainly on helping stray dogs, Bobcats of the Shelter Dogs helped raise funds for veterinary bills and found homes for four stray kittens last year, according to a previous Post report.

Pet Therapy

Laila Riaz | FOR THE POST

A dog from the Playtime with Puppies event on South Green on April 21, 2017.

While some students were hitting the books in the library a week before finals, Hannah Gagne was busy introducing students to puppies on South Green.

“Playtime with Puppies” is an event Paws for a Cause hosts near the dorms whenever a resident assistant sends a request their way.

“There’s a reason (why) we bring dogs to campus so often,” Gagne, the co-president of Paws for a Cause, said. “(It) helps calm people down and make them happy, especially before finals week.”

Jena Albers, president of Bobcats of the Shelter Dogs, said she noticed being in a better mood every time she knew she was going to the shelter.

“I knew I was going to be able to go see these dogs and take a break from studying,” Albers, a 2017 OU alumna, said. “As a college student, it’s such an important thing to make sure you’re doing that for yourself.”

For Albers, the main thing that changed after joining Bobcats of the Shelter Dogs was that she “went from being a lover of animals to being an advocate for them.”

“I used to be like, ‘Oh, that’s a cute puppy,’ but now I think, ‘Look at these puppies that need homes (and) love. What can I do for them?’ ” Albers said. “That’s definitely something that changed in my life.”

Bobcats of the Shelter Dogs often hold fundraisers, selling t-shirts and dog treats at Baker Center, and the proceeds go directly to the local dog shelter to help spay and neuter dogs, as well as attend to any vaccinations or medical attention that the animals may need, she said.

“It’s really cool to get to see how the money we raise (is) really saving lives,” Albers said.

Bringing the dogs to campus and helping them socialize with other dogs and people is a “huge perk” of being part of Paws for a Cause, Gagner, a junior studying early childhood education, said.

“It’s fun hanging out with friends and playing with the dogs,” she said.

After spending so much time at the shelter, Albers can see the positive effects her presence has on the dogs.

“You can just see how much happier (the dogs) are to get that time outside,” Albers said. “It really helps them remember the world is good and there are people out there that want to help them and that is really, really a cool thing to see.”

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