SPCA Offers Puppy Love year-round
U.Va. students volunteer and foster local animals
The Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA is a no-kill organization that takes in animals from the streets, owners who can no longer take care of them, disaster ridden areas and surrounding shelters when they grow overcrowded.
| Cavalier Daily
At any given time, one can find a student walking down the Lawn who has stopped, dropped everything and run over to pet a dog. The University knows about the general affinity students have for animals because it brings them in every semester during finals week to soothe students’ souls. But in all this anticipation and longing, there’s been a place filled with animals just begging to be loved.
The Charlottesville-Albemarle Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a no-kill organization that takes in animals from the streets, owners who can no longer take care of them, disaster ridden areas and surrounding shelters when they grow overcrowded. Over 3,000 dogs and cats go through the SPCA in a given year, with roughly 73 percent being adopted or transferred.
The SPCA is located about 15 minutes from Grounds and offers a number of ways to get involved. Fourth-year College student Genny Huss spent three semesters as a volunteer through Madison House’s Puppy Pals program.
“I walked dogs … To give them some time outside of their kennels and time to interact with humans,” Huss said. “[We hoped] that they would feel socialized and … Be more appealing and ready for adoptions.”
Students can also volunteer by managing donations, folding laundry and cleaning the facilities. Currently, the shelter’s staff members are overextended because the SPCA accepts almost all cats and dogs brought to them.
“My favorite part was giving dogs individualized attention, which is something they don’t get a lot of [while] living at the SPCA because there are so many dogs that need to be cared for,” Huss said.
The SPCA also accepts animals from overseas. Currently 10 dogs at the shelter are Humane Society International rescues from a dog meat farm located two hours away from Pyeongchang, South Korea. In total, 170 dogs were taken from the farm.
In addition to volunteering, students can also help the SPCA by fostering animals. Fourth-year College student Mina Hamblet and her roommates decided to take this next step.
“There was a lot going on after Hurricane Harvey because [the SPCA] was getting so many shipments of animals from shelters in that area,” Hamblet said. “All we had to do was fill out a form and fill out some questions [to foster].”
Since then, Hamblet and her roommates have fostered two kittens and have just applied for their third.
“It’s nice to come home to a little kitten, it’s a great stress release, and we miss having an animal to come home to,” Hamblet said. “We had some of the cutest foster kittens but if you’re taking on a puppy or kitten, it’s not just having a friend to play with, there’s a bit of work that goes into it.”
Whether students can commit an hour or hours of their time, the SPCA needs its volunteers to operate and keep the animals happy and healthy enough for adoption.
“I loved giving them [the dogs] time outside and allowing them to feel as though they were not confined to a cage,” Huss said. “For me, walking dogs was very therapeutic and a chance to take a break from my normal U.Va. routine and the stresses of college.”
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