Hands helping paws: Students volunteer at MLAR
By Kelly Benning, Staff Reporter
Her name is Princess. She is a pit-bull and her owners abused and eventually abandoned her. Her rescuers believe that she was once a part of a dog-fighting ring.
Despite her dark past and shy disposition, Princess has developed a special relationship with juniors Emily Shertzer and Sara Burns who both volunteer at Main Line Animal Rescue (MLAR).
MLAR, located in Chester Springs, rescues hundreds of abandoned animals and dogs from puppy mills. They strive to provide a home for as many animals as they can and prepare the animals to be adopted into permanent homes as soon as possible.
The MLAR helps many animals with special needs, and provides necessary medical care to all of their pets. After the animals are adopted, however, the MLAR continues to feel responsible for the animal and will take it back under their wing if the family cannot care for it anymore.
“The main goal is to provide a very high, happy standard of living for the animals and also to provide some sense of normalcy,” Burns said.
To do this, MLAR has volunteers socialize the animals. Because many of the rescued animals were abused or mistreated in some way, they are often overly aggressive or shy. Temperamental issues like these must be resolved in order to find the animals a loving home.
The opportunity to work with a wide variety of animals appealed to sophomore Anna Perme, who is currently in training to become a volunteer for MLAR. She was motivated to join the cause because of the shelter’s support for animal rights.
“I think that people should treat animals with as much respect as they treat their neighbor,” Perme said.
Shertzer and Burns travel to the rescue every Sunday to take dogs for walks, play with the animals, pet them and generally show them lots of affection, often something with which they are completely unaccustomed.
“By going to the shelter you get to see so many types of dogs and types of cats that you really just get a better appreciation for animals in general and a better understanding of their behavior,” Burns said.
Kelly Benning can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on p. 16 of the June 6, 2011 issue of The Spoke.