Amidst barking dogs, bow-tied kittens and onlooking students, the Student Association for Campus Activities held Texas State’s first Canine Carnival at the LBJ Student Center Bobcat Trail.
SACA partnered with the City of San Marcos Animal Shelter to create an adoption event in order to raise awareness about the shelter and its volunteer program.
On Oct. 10 at Bobcat Trail, two dogs and about five cats happily greeted students. With surges between classes, the line to sign waivers in order to pet the animals grew soundly. The atmosphere was playful and both students and pets were eager for fun. Recreational events included canine-themed hacky sack games and prizes.
Amy Simpson, communication studies junior and SACA’s recreation event coordinator, is a volunteer at the shelter. Simpson said she noticed the lack of recognition the animal shelter was getting in comparison to larger shelters outside of San Marcos. Simpson had the idea to bring the animals to Texas State in an attempt to find homes for these local animals and recruit volunteers.
“This is the first time they’ve let shelter pets on campus, which is very exciting for us,” Lauren Volpe, community outreach coordinator for the City of San Marcos Animal Shelter, said. “I really like the idea of the university and the city working together to promote animal awareness.”
Despite the popularity of nearby animal adoption centers, the City of San Marcos Animal Shelter is one of the only animal shelters located in Hays County. Local animals are originally sent to this shelter and are then distributed to other adoption centers. Due to a lack of current volunteers, fewer animals were brought to the carnival than originally intended.
Animal ownership requires full-time responsibility. Volunteering is an option that allows students to spend time with animals without the commitment.
Simpson said due to a lack of volunteers at the San Marcos shelter, some dogs do not receive as much attention as the shelter professionals would like.
“I’m all about getting college kids to realize that they don’t have to adopt,” Simpson said. “Just volunteer, love on them, give them the sociability they need and then just go home and do your homework.”
Volunteering requirements for college students and young adults include attending a one-hour volunteer orientation, completing at least six hours of work each month and paying a $15 orientation fee.
Volpe said volunteers are essential to the functionality of the shelter, and helping in any way can benefit both students and the animals.
“Working with pets could give students a sense of fulfillment and responsibility,” Volpe said. “Especially if it’s their first time away from home and they’re feeling little homesick, having an animal to come home to is really rewarding.”
Alexander Sanchez Estrada, business administration freshman, recently adopted a dog and said interacting with animals is a great way to relieve tension, especially with midterms.
“My dog definitely helps me with stress,” Estrada said. “Just being around a dog is beneficial to anyone.”