Undergraduate coordinator Jemma Freisinger (left) and graduate coordinator Naveen Khan (right) volunteer at the Salem County animal shelter. -Contributor/Joseph Metz

On Friday, Sept. 28, students from Rowan University traveled to the Salem County Humane Society and worked alongside volunteers. According to the vice president of the shelter, Connie Waller, and graduate coordinator of volunteerism, community engagement and commuter services Naveen Khan, they check in on the well-being of the animals and clean up after them. 

Dogs are more likely to be adopted than cats, according to common adoptions at Humane Society. Typically, shelters more cats than they do dogs because they are harder to manage.

“If I could, I would adopt all of them,” Khan said.

Despite the relatively early morning hours, the volunteers were eager to help. Rowan university students make the drive to help animals in need, to help a shelter that is working to support animals. All help is wanted and anyone can volunteer after they go through a guideline session. 

Vice president of the shelter Connie Waller was willing to guide the volunteers. 

“I train them on Friday so they can come in prepared on Monday,” Waller said. “We run only on volunteers and off donations from the public.”

Donations letters are sent through the mail to the people of Salem County and money can also be donated on the society’s website. A lot of residents of Salem County come in and donate blankets, old shirts, dog toys, leashes and collars and much more. Many volunteers will help clean bowls, walk dogs or even help with the donation process. Waller also said that the day before, Rowan volunteers helped with folding the donation letters. 

Not all animals at shelters get adopted. According to Waller, the shelter is a no-kill shelter, unless a dog or cat ends up gravely sick at some point. Otherwise, they live in the care of the volunteers. 

“We are a strictly a cat and dog animal shelter,” Waller said regarding adoptions.

The animals must also be sterilized since the shelter lacks the room for kittens and puppies.

Waller described how volunteering at the animal shelter gave people valuable life lessons about taking care of another living thing. Often, people will adopt an animal thinking that they can take care of them, but in reality they end up being unable.

“People need to emphasize that animals are living creatures and they have feelings and people should treat them with respect,” Waller said.

Animal shelter volunteers, Ava Powell, Melissa Kolaski, Vice President Connie Waller, Cheyenne Moore and Mitchell Kaplan. -Photo courtesy of Joseph Metz.

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