Giving them shelter

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 18, 2009

Each year, the Phi Theta Kappa chapter at Lurleen B. Wallace participates in a service project to help their fellow man. This year, they chose to help “man’s best friend.”

Members of the Alpha Beta Eta chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, an academic honor society for students who attend two-year colleges, have been volunteering their time and energy at the Andalusia Animal Shelter since September. They have given up their free time to visit with the animals, clean the animals, and also participate in several adoption-related events.

Thursday, the students worked on a special project, where they constructed 30 “elevated beds” for the dogs at the shelter. The beds are made from PVC pipe and a thick canvas-like material.

“The shelter has a hard floor, and it sometimes gets cold or wet when people wash it,” said Maggie Lawson, an LBWCC student and Phi Theta Kappa chapter president. “This way, they’ll be able to keep their paws dry and just be more comfortable.”

Heather Owen, director of recruitment at LBWCC and Phi Theta Kappa advisor, said the project would not have been possible without the help of several donors. She said Brooks True-Value Hardware, All Is Well, and Southern Pipe donated PVC pipe, Breedlove’s Ace Lumber & Building Supply donated screws and the Andalusia Area Humane Society purchased the canvas material.

“These students have put in probably close to 100 hours already on this project,” said Owen, referring to not only the bed construction but also the volunteer service at the shelter. “It helps them to see how they can help in their own community. They can see that they don’t have to go outside of Covington County to participate in service projects.”

Christin Ball, director at the Andalusia Animal Shelter, said she truly appreciated the efforts of the Phi Theta Kappa members.

“In this day and age, it is truly refreshing to see young people who willingly give up their spare time to come out here and volunteer,” she said. “It’s truly a win-win situation, because it gives these kids a chance to make a difference and it also gives our shelter animals some attention and love that all animals want and need.”

The students said they enjoy participating in the project and giving some attention to those animals that have often been treated like “disposable objects.”

“Our goal isn’t only to just spend time with the animals,” Lawson said. “It’s also to make sure they get loving homes.”

In October, the chapter volunteered for an adoption event where eight animals were taken home by loving families. They will participate in a similar event Saturday, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., at the Andalusia Animal Shelter located off River Falls Street, about a mile west of the bypass.

During Saturday’s adoption event, animals can be adopted for $80, but most of that fee includes a $75 spaying or neutering. Those services typically cost between $150-200.

“It’s really a wonderful deal,” Ball said. “Our local veterinarians have been very generous to provide such a discount for these services.”

Ball added that those who adopt animals on Saturday can also choose to pay half the fee that day, and then pay the remainder when they take the animal to be spayed or neutered.

For more information about Saturday’s adoption event, as well as general information about adoption and other shelter services, call the shelter at 222-8705. The shelter is open from 9 a.m. until 4:45 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.