Story by Taylor Inman, Staff writer
Sigma Pi’s annual Altruistic Campus Experience project has been many different things in the past, but this year it took an adorable, fluffy turn by working with the Calloway County Humane Society to offer students access to pet therapy dogs and adoption services for their first ever Sigma Pi Dog Days.
Last Saturday was bright and beautiful as the certified pet therapy dogs greeted students on the Quad. The Humane Society offered these services, as well as the chance to meet and adopt puppies on the spot. The project raked in four adoption applications throughout the event.
Evan Laird, Sigma Pi’s philanthropy chairman and ACE project chairman, said Sigma Pi has used their ACE project in the past to put on a dinner for faculty and staff, organize a campus clean-up and, most recently, host a dinner for local law enforcement.
“This year we’re doing something a little different,” Laird said. “We’ve decided to team up with the local Humane Society. A lot of our other chapters have done this all over the country.”
Laird said the project happening during a stressful time for students was beneficial coincidence.
“We’re helping students benefit themselves by taking time to come out on a beautiful day, play with some animals and not have to stress about class,” Laird said.
The fraternity offered Dog Days t-shirts and drinks for sale, and while there was an admission fee of $2, Sigma Pi president Michael Mann said it’s going toward a good cause.
“So we’re helping the campus and the community,” Mann said. “I don’t like charging people, but we’re giving this money to the humane society. Yesterday, we did a clean-up at the animal shelter, as well.”
The pet therapy dogs can come in many shapes and sizes, but to do their job correctly, they really only have to have a loving personality, said Calloway County Humane Society’s Executive Director, Kathy Hodge.
“It has to do with the temperament of the dog more than anything else,” Hodge said. “Some dogs love being messed with and they love to be played with and they never tire of it. That’s the kind of personality a therapy dog needs.”
The Humane Society brings their therapy dogs to the Curris Center on the second Wednesday of every month, but they rarely offer up puppy adoption services at Murray State, only bringing a litter of puppies about once a year.
While the potential adoptees couldn’t just take the puppy home from Dog Days, the Humane Society volunteers have begun the vetting process of looking over the applications submitted, to determine if they are a good match.
“We feel like what we’re doing is match making,” Hodge said. “We want the person and animal to be the perfect match for each other.”
Through all of the donations, Humane Society representatives said they also want to spread their own message.
“We really appreciate it; we’ll use that money to help with that care for the animals that we brought today. So that will be a huge help for us,” Hodge said. “But we want to help people understand what humane societies are all about, we like to send students away from campus knowing what humane societies can be and how they can be active in a community.”
Laird said he hopes this will become a regular project for Sigma Pi and considered the large turnout to be a successful first attempt.
“This is something that we hope to be a staple for years to come,” Laird said. “If it’s not our spring philanthropy, we will have it as our ACE project.”
Mann said he wants to add to Dog Days, making it even bigger next year, by doing a campus clean-up in addition to the Dog Days project and expanding their reach to other Humane Societies in surrounding counties.
“As we make it bigger, obviously we’re going to need more dogs,” Mann said. “The more animals that are here, the more animals that can get adopted. And with more people here means we raise more money for the Humane Society.”