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New Campus Y Committee Reaches Out to Furry Friends

In steps Campus Y's newest special projects committee, Helping Paws.

The committee, founded by junior Vincent Ha, was formed when Ha realized there was no organization for students who wanted to volunteer to help animals.

Volunteers for Helping Paws go to the animal shelter on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays to help employees take care of the animals.

Meghan Hennis was one of the volunteers enthused by Helping Paws' mission.

She worked at an animal hospital in her hometown of Raleigh, which nurtured her love for animals. As a freshman biology major with a possibility of becoming a veterinarian, Hennis said volunteering at an animal shelter offers more useful, hands-on experience.

"I thought volunteering was just as good as getting a job," Hennis said. "Volunteering at the animal shelter is a lot of fun."

Fellow freshman volunteer Ashley Rosen from Greensboro also jumped at the opportunity to help out at the animal shelter.

At home, Rosen kept four pets and was disappointed to learn that pets are not allowed in the residence halls.

"I miss my cats and dogs at home," she said.

She said volunteering at the animal shelter has opened her eyes to the severity of the problem of stray animals.

"When we went for orientation, they showed us around, and there were a bunch of animals -- one cat had a cast on its leg, one cat was missing an eye, and one cat had a cut on its nose," Rosen said.

"They were all crying and wanted attention."

Rosen said she wished pet owners would take responsibility for their pets by spaying or neutering them.

"The biggest problem is people not keeping track of their pets," she said. "People not being responsible for their pets results in more animals being born.

"They're all really sweet, and it's sad that they don't have homes."

David Angeles, Campus Y co-president, said Helping Paws helps in an area that previously had been forgotten.

"We worked with social justice for humans, but never with animals," Angeles said. "When (Ha) came with the proposal, it was a new way of helping the population."

He said more than 40 people showed up for the first meeting.

"I didn't realize there was such a huge interest," Angeles said.

Ha said students are required to go to an orientation before they can begin volunteering. The shelter trained 20 to 25 students during the first orientation.

"Hopefully the more people we have, the more we can do," Ha said.

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APS employee Shannon Graham said she encourages volunteering at the shelter.

"I think it's great, as long as they don't mind getting dirty -- there's lots of poop here," Graham said. "But it's fun, and the animals are great."

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