GONE TO THE DOGS
JADE DOTY ’18 | CAVELIFE EDITOR • Pets and dogs in particular are a staple among American life. It is seldom that a family does not
have some sort of pet, and with the population ever increasing in major cities, it is becoming more popular to own a cat or a dog than have a child in many urban settings across the United States. The happiness that comes from spending time
with a dog, a cat, or any animal for that matter is well known by young individuals like the students here on Wabash’s campus, but it is only recently that these same animals and pets are beginning to be included in different forms of mental therapy.
Two years ago, Mason Zurek ‘16 wrote an opinion piece for The Bachelor stating the benefits of spending time with a dog and how he thought it would be a good idea to change the rules of having a pet in a living unit at Wabash College. “Having a happy dog to play with and take of is a great way to escape from the rigors of the Wabash grind” Zurich said.
Understanding the ways dogs benefit one’s mental and emotional health, more and more students have become familiar with Montgomery County’s Animal Welfare League
just off of Arch Road. The animal shelter states that, “[Their] mission is to save lives, to prevent pain, fear, and suffering, and to provide sanctuary and permanent homes for the unwanted, lost and neglected animals.” Over the course of the past few years, Wabash has made an effort to increase the level of sanctuary that the Animal Welfare League provides to these animals by having freshman orientation groups spend time at the shelter, helping anyway possible.
This introduction to the Animal Welfare League early on in their Wabash experience has made students want to continue spending time with the animals that the organization shelters. Yet, even though many Wabash students visit the Animal Welfare League when they can, these dogs seldomly have any interaction with people outside of their pens except on the weekend, when it’s most convenient for Wabash students.
“In my experience, walking dogs at the Animal Welfare League, the workers there mention that they get several Wabash guys to walk dogs on the weekends, but few come during the week and so most of the dogs stay in their cage Monday through Friday,” Braiden Slavens ‘19 said.
Slavens, Wabash’s current IFC President, is implementing a way for several students at Wabash College to walk dogs during the week. He plans on creating a schedule for walking dogs between all the fraternities on campus in order to both benefit the dogs at the Animal Welfare League and to give a more systematic opportunity for students to get philanthropy hours.
“A calendar should be coming out soon where a fraternity can sign up for a day that works best for them,” Slavens said. “They are then expected to go out to the shelter for an hour or two and walk several of the dogs. Somedays it might be just five guys that go, and other days it could be twenty, either way, it’ll help the Animal Welfare League. Between all fraternities we should get five or six days out of the week covered every single week and make sure dogs are being walked every day.”
Slavens is the organizer behind this new IFC initiative, but the idea of fraternities being more active at the Animal Welfare League came from dog and cat enthusiast Nick Vedo ‘19.
“I like to run when it’s nice outside,” Vedo said. “Back home, I have a golden retriever and we run classes under § 94.01 (B) and (C) of the 1979 ordinance include: race, religion, color, sex, age, handicap, national origin, or ancestry. 39 years later, the newly formed commission proposed an amendment to the City Council Petitions & Ordinances Committee on February 5th, where it passed unanimously, sending it to its first reading at the City Council meeting the following Monday. After brief discussion amongst the council members and the audience, the ordinance passed unanimously in
its first reading and will be up for a second and third reading next month.
The purpose of this ordinance aims to formalize a way of life that at the dunes all the time, so I’m used to running with a dog by my side. Earlier this year I decided to stop by the Animal Welfare League and see if they had any dogs that would want to run with me. I knew that a lot of dogs spend a lot of time inside and that was so sad for me to think about, so I wanted to run with some dogs so they could get a little fresh air.”
After running with some of the dogs, it dawned on Vedo that some sort of program could
be implemented in the greek community in order for dogs to get walked more often. So he approached IFC President, Slavens, with the idea of working with fraternities to get more students walking dogs at the Animal Welfare League during the entire week.
“The whole idea behind contacting Braiden was the duel purpose a system like this could have,” Vedo said. “It’s a great philanthropy opportunity for fraternities and
the dogs could really benefit from constant interaction. I was hoping to make it a competition between houses so there are people going to the animal welfare league everyday to walk dogs, it should be easy especially since it’s starting to get nice out.”
Dogs are labelled as man’s best friend. Wabash College labels itself as the College for men, so the pairing between students and the Animal Welfare League might be a perfect match. This is a great way to connect with man’s best friend throughout the semester.