By Tristan E. M. Leach
There aren’t many things that will motivate college students to leave the comfort of their dorms on a chilly March morning. Luckily, the reward of getting to pet some adorable puppies was just the motivation needed for Rider students.
Pet-A-Pup, as the event was named, was put together to raise money for EASEL Animal Shelter. The non profit organization works to keep unwanted dogs and cats from being killed. Many “no kill” shelters reserve euthanasia for sick animals whereas EASEL does not.
The event was the idea of four students in a class led by associate professor Mark Promislo. The students were given the task of putting together a fundraiser, in this case, Pet-A-Pup, an event that was new to Rider’s campus.
Sherrie Manalo, a sophomore digital marketing major, was one of the students behind the project. Manalo and her group were inclined to choose a non profit organization that they connected to on a personal level.
“Myself, as a dog lover and my other team members are as well, we were able to connect to that charity [EASEL],” said Manalo. “When we found more information about EASEL and being so close to campus, we found that it could be the best opportunity for us to work with them.”
EASEL was happy to collaborate with the group, and on March 27 an email was sent to students inviting them to sign up for 10 minute sessions to pet and play with puppies. In order for this to happen, students were required to pay a $5 fee for the event, donated to the charity. Within a few hours, all spots had been filled and the anticipation of the event filled the air.
At promptly 11:30 a.m. on March 31 the first students arrived on the Campus Mall. Framed gorgeously by the Broncs bushes, four black and two brown puppies frolicked with happy students, volunteers for EASEL supervising the play.
Many of the animals that find a home with EASEL have experienced trauma and were unwanted.
Tiffany Bates, a senior entrepreneurial studies major, was in the group of students that put together the event.
“[The event] just means a lot because everybody loves pets and dogs and cats. They are so sweet and cute,” said Bates. “To be here and raise money just feels so amazing because they’re a great organization and what they stand for is amazing.”
The students were happy to give some love and joy to the animals and the students received the same from the puppies. Smiling students pet, hugged and fed treats to the yappy four-legged creatures.
The event was healing for students and prompted many to think about fostering and adopting in the future. This included students like Emma Zatkowski, a sophomore arts and entertainment industries management major.
“The reason I came is because I fostered and adopted my dog out from a rescue shelter back in January. I wanted to come and see other shelter dogs,” said Zatkowski.
As the event carried on, the puppies excitedly rushed from person to person. Students talked excitedly to their friends. Manalo and her fellow group members looked on. The event had been the success they had all hoped for.