By: Katherine Waters, Staff Writer
Although finals week is stressful for many students, the end of the semester also brings some exciting moments, like warm days on the lawn, Spring Weekend and graduation. Some students look forward to finals study breaks as well, especially visits from therapy dogs. But thanks to Paws for a Cause, students can see the dogs from the Spartanburg Humane Society whenever they want by volunteering with the group.
“The purpose of Paws for a Cause is to enrich and save the lives of local animals through our partnership with the Spartanburg Humane Society,” says Gracie Minor ’19, president of the group. “The members of PFAC volunteer at the shelter, conduct fundraisers and drives and organize educational campaigns to better educate the community about animals’ rights and needs.”
The group, which was started last year by Minor and Molly Humphries ’19, uses their partnership with the Humane Society to promote animal rights for local rescues. Minor says that college students have a responsibility to care for animals and protect their rights, just as they often protect human rights.
“College students represent future law makers, doctors and parents; if we don’t care about animals, then no one will,” she says. “Animals are humans’ best and most loyal companion and they do too much for us for us to ignore their wellbeing. As humans, if we are going to force animals to protect us (such as service dogs and K9 units), then we owe them the same amount of respect and protection.”
Volunteering provides an easy way for Wofford students to get involved with an organization, but there are other methods to supporting animal rights. For example, students can donate money or use their social media channels to spread awareness.
“My advice for someone wanting to get involved is to pick a foundation or group that interests you the most and put all your time into helping them,” says Minor. “Personally, I support the Stand Up for Pits Foundation because I believe the breed in inherently good and the ferocious beast that should be banned from society is the human teaching the dog aggression and violence.”
Although most types of pets are not allowed on campus, many Wofford students have pets of their own at home or plan to adopt a new pet once they graduate. But just because the animal is domesticated does not mean that they do not need to be protected. Minor says that measures should be taken to ensure that pets are treated with the proper care.
“If you intend to get a pet just to take pictures with it, then don’t bother getting one,” she says. “Animals are living beings that crave affection and, just like humans, they have needs that could conflict with what you want. Your pet is your number one priority–it’s like raising a child. Also, I advise anyone looking into getting a pet to visit their local shelter and avoid puppy mills and breeders.”
Even students that do not have pets at home can be involved in animal rights efforts. Minor says that sometimes inaction can be just as important as action, such as choosing to not attend environments where animals could be abused or held captive.
She explains, “Discourage your friends from visiting zoos, aquariums and circuses. If your friends choose to ignore your disapproval, then send them the facts via email, text, twitter or Facebook. Some people are clueless about the inhumane conditions animals endure just for their entertainment. Everyone can play a part in educating society.”
Volunteering in Spartanburg can only provide a small glimpse into what animal rights movements are doing around the world. But that doesn’t mean that efforts are futile. Minor says that any action will help the greater cause.
“Humans have the responsibility of being the voice for the voiceless animals of the world. A crowd of whispers can become unbearably loud and un-ignorable when everyone participates.”