Students PAWS and help

Students volunteer with local animals

By Eunice Tibay
On March 1, 2018

Photo by Axel Marcenaro
A kitten takes a break from playing with his brothers to investigate a Ram Page camera man. PAWs takes care of many kittens just like this one, in need of a home.

Graduate student Sascha Smith and senior Meghan Rogers, driven by a passion for finding places pets can to call home, volunteer for Concho Valley PAWS.

According to Smith, volunteering includes helping at adoption events by walking dogs and having them meet people during the weekends.

People can also volunteer to become foster parents of their shelter animals, like Smith did.

Smith, who has fostered three dogs and adopted one of those since she began volunteering in July 2017, stated that the experience was worth the trouble.

"Being a foster is a lot more work because you have to take a dog into your home," Smith said. "And then, once you take it into your home, you kind of commit to keeping it until it gets adopted."

Despite it being difficult to part with the first dogs she fostered, she still felt rewarded by the experience.

"It’s tough, but it’s super, super rewarding," she said.

She also shared how she had formed a friendship with the person who adopted one of her foster dogs, and that seeing the dogs change after being adopted is one of the things she loved.

"Once you get a dog out of the shelter, it changes drastically, even in the first two weeks that you have it," Smith said.

Rogers works with mostly with dogs, though she has worked with cats as well.

Rogers also works with pitbulls, educating people and debunking the negative stereotypes typically associated with the breed.

"A lot of times in the shelters, you get a lot of pitbulls, and a lot of people are usually very afraid of them, to work with them," she said. "I really liked showing people that, ‘Hey! These are perfectly fine dogs.’"

Like Smith, Rogers said that being able to give pets a new home is one of the best parts of being a volunteer.

"Not only do you get to save a dog’s life or a cat’s life, you get to help out a family," Rogers said. "They get a new family member, and it’s just rewarding on both ends. It’s really such a great experience, overall, and it definitely makes you a better person."

Both Smith and Rogers encourage other students to volunteer.

"It’s great because you get to be there for them and help them," Smith said. "It’s rewarding."

"They do a great job of finding all these animals homes," Rogers said. "It’s a great organization that works to help save dogs and cats and I think everyone should work to help that."

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