News

Student-Run Animal Rescue Program Accepted into the Association of Shelter Veterinarians

11/12/09

Photo Caption:  From left to right standing: Emily Petraitis, Casey Spencer, Alicia Hatch, Lauren Deahl
From left to right sitting: Rachel Becker, Anna Whitehead, Lindsay Kraut

Photo Caption: From left to right standing: Emily Petraitis, Casey Spencer, Alicia Hatch, Lauren Deahl From left to right sitting: Rachel Becker, Anna Whitehead, Lindsay Kraut

NOVEMBER 12, 2009-(NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ)-Nine years ago, People for Animal Welfare on St. Kitts (P.A.W.S.) was established by Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine students who wanted to make a difference in the community by helping animals. Their vision was to help change the way animals in St. Kitts were treated, to ensure they were given proper care, and to work to decrease the overwhelming animal overpopulation issue.

Today, the organization has made such huge inroads in all of those areas that it was recently accepted into the Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV), an international organization which seeks to improve the health and well-being of animals in shelters through the advancement of shelter medicine.

“Being accepted as a student chapter in the ASV was very exciting for us,” Lauren Deahl, a third semester student and president of P.A.W.S., said. “Our goal is to help students who want to pursue a career in shelter medicine after they graduate.”

Lauren decided to go to Ross for the very same reasons P.A.W.S. was established.

“I always knew that I wanted to go to veterinary school but I needed to go to a place where I could do something to actually make a difference,” she said. “I think it’s so important to understand the culture of the area where you’re living. We’re coming into the homes of Kittitians, and one of the things that can be challenging in animal rescue is that we have to try to understand where they’re coming from and the kinds of experience they’ve had with animals before we can move forward and make changes.”

Since its inception, P.A.W.S. has adopted out countless stray animals to students and Kittitians.

“We’ve successfully adopted out about 95 animals last year and about 90 so far this year—so while we may not double last year’s number we’ll definitely surpass it,” Lauren noted.

However, Lauren’s vision for the organization goes beyond simply taking in animals and finding them homes.

“When I joined P.A.W.S., our main goal was to bring in animals and socialize them so that we could place them into permanent homes; however, my main focus as president is to really involve the schools and community in educational programs to start to change the way people think about animals,” she said.

To this end, she noted that the organization’s educational outreach efforts will be redoubled in the next year.

“We’re going to start by going into the schools and teaching basic animal care—how to tell if a dog is friendly or not, things like that. We feel that it’s important to build a foundation and then go from there.”

About Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine
Ross University is a provider of medical and veterinary education, offering doctor of medicine and doctor of veterinary medicine degree programs. Founded in 1982 and located in St. Kitts, the School of Veterinary Medicine is affiliated with 21 AVMA-accredited US veterinary schools where students complete their clinical year.  The School of Medicine is located in Dominica, West Indies, with clinical education centers in Saginaw, MI, Miami, FL, and The Bahamas.

Ross University’s administrative offices are located in North Brunswick, NJ. For more information about Ross University, visit www.RossU.edu or call 732.509.4600/877.ROSS.EDU.

 

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