Julia Ward ’17

I have always been a dog person. Maybe it is partly due to the fact that my family could not have cats because my mom was allergic, or maybe it is because of the fact that dogs are lovable, cute, and enthusiastic. When the Community Outreach board put up a sign saying that they needed volunteers to help volunteer at the Brandywine Valley Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (S.P.C.A.), I knew I wanted to help.

On a crisp, sunny, Saturday morning, eight Tower Hill students and Mrs. Keith took the Tower Hill van to the SPCA and spent two-and-a-half hours at the shelter. As soon as we entered the doors, the howling and barking of dogs engulfed the room. We started out with an introduction lesson with how to handle the dogs and our responsibilities, and finally we were able to walk the dogs. The Brandywine Valley SPCA has three different rooms filled with dogs, each in their little enclosure. The dogs ranged from big pit bulls to tea-cup size dogs, but all of them were eager to say hi to us and allowed us to feed them treats.

The biggest shock for me when I entered these enclosures was the smell. A lot of these dogs are not house-trained, and they are let outside only a limited amount of times a day. In some pens, the ground was completely wet and the dogs would slide back and forth on the slippery cement. Another piece of information that shocked me was how many dogs were on medication. Most of the dogs that are in the shelter were once strays and never received any shots or precautions for illnesses. Immediately, when they come to the shelter, they go to a vet and get medications that will help them become healthy again.

The SPCA brings in any dog that they can. It is truly amazing that they can help so many dogs. I had never been to a dog shelter before, and I was genuinely surprised by some of the aspects, but I was also pleasantly surprised with others. When it was time for us to walk the dogs outside, all the dogs were so happy to get the chance to smell the fresh air and walk on the soft dirt. They acted just like dogs. Prancing alongside us, or chewing the leash, the dogs were grateful that we were there to help them.

The SPCA tries to help any dog that they can. It is truly a remarkable place to volunteer, but it is also sad to have to run a shelter. So many dogs are left without an owner, and they never get to really experience the love and care that many other dogs receive. If you are ever interested in volunteering at the SPCA please contact Ann Guzzetta or Mrs. Keith. Even though volunteering is great, these dogs really need a home. If you ever want to adopt a dog, or know of a friend who wants to adopt a dog, please check out the SPCA because the dogs are looking for loving homes and will surely bring smiles to your families.