Is college a suitable environment for pets?
After following a cute Corgi on Instagram for months, you have the urge to get yourself a pet, but you wonder if a college campus is a suitable place for a furry friend.
“I know that students often want to adopt an animal when they are at college ... I would stress that having an animal is like having a child and only students who feel they are ready to take on the responsibility should adopt,” said Lindsay Goldblatt, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, and an administrator of Rutgers United for the Welfare of Animals (RUWA).
RUWA was founded with the goal of helping animals in need. The majority of these animals are currently in shelters and some live on the Rutgers campus.
Dozens of animals are left behind in dorms or in off-campus housing locations because students are unable to take them home, according to RUWA. The group wants to create a "Rutgers Safe Haven" where people can drop off unwanted animals anonymously to be fed and housed.
“RUWA’s mission is very broad, we try to help multiple animal causes that need our attention at that specific time,” Goldblatt said.
The feral cat population on the New Brunswick and Piscataway campuses is out of control right now, Goldblatt said.
RUWA fundraises for other groups that help vaccinate, medicate and provide food and shelter for cats that cannot be adopted.
“Another really big contribution that our group takes very seriously is volunteering,” Goldblatt said. “Shelters and volunteer organizations are always in constant need for volunteers that can help to clean, feed and simply provide love for a shelter animal that doesn’t have a forever home yet."
RUWA also advocates for shelter pets and finds them foster homes.
There is never enough that the group can do to improve rights for animals, Goldblatt said. As long as people continue to turn a blind eye to humanity's cruelties, Goldblatt believes animals are always going to suffer.
RUWA is not the only animal organization on campus finding homes for stray animals.
The Companion Animal Club, founded in 2011 by Nora Nealon, has helped find homes for stray kittens in the past. The Companion Animal Club hopes to educate students interested in learning more about companion animals.
“We wanted to create a space where students can come learn about pets, while also positively impacting the community,” said Arsen Mayisoglu, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences senior and president of the Companion Animal Club.
This semester the Companion Animal Club has shifted their focus to working with service dogs, Mayisoglu said.
The club currently has more than 100 members and five service dogs around campus.
“It is amazing seeing the Rutgers community come together to partake in something proactive and selfless whether it be training and raising service dogs, or fostering kittens to health and finding them homes,” Mayisoglu said. “We hope our impact echoes through the future generations of Scarlet Knights long after graduation.”
Goldblatt said she has learned many lessons, but foremost she has learned that not every animal can be saved.
“The mission isn’t to end animal cruelty, because unfortunately that’s not feasible. However, if you can help one animal at a time, you are truly making a difference," Goldblatt said. "Often times it becomes overwhelming and you feel like you’re not doing enough. One animal at a time — and for that single animal, you have changed their entire world and that’s what you have to remember.”