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Making shelter life better

Photo courtesy of Gulf Coast Humane Society

FGCU students are spreading awareness about animal homelessness while partnering with the Gulf Coast Humane Society.

As part of professor Jessica Rhea’s group project for a civic engagement course, students have partnered with the GCHS with the goal of making shelter life better for animals and promoting the dogs for adoption.

“GCHS is all about the community,” said Jenna Walther, a GCHS volunteer. “We have two low-cost clinics that are open to the public, which helps people keep their pets up to date on vaccines and spayed/neutered. We also have a TNR program in our spay/neuter clinic that fixes feral cats to help cut down on the overpopulation of animals in the area.”

Walther said that once animals are spayed and neutered, they are then returned to their colony.

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“Now, the caretaker for the colony doesn’t have to worry about them producing more cats,” Walther said. “We also share our donated food with other rescues in the area to help them feed all of their animals as well.”

The students have collected T-shirts, which are used to make affordable and easy-to-make chew toys for the dogs. They also make homemade dog and cat treats from their own recipe.

Students also work on raising awareness to increase volunteer numbers and inform people of adoption and fostering options.

“Volunteers love to come to the shelter to get some dog/cat time in if they cannot have a pet of their own,” Walther said. “We have many different opportunities for volunteers, and they can also help in our clinics, which is nice for people that are thinking of going to school to be in the veterinary field.”

By being engaged in the project and gathering donations, students hope to help GCHS reach its 2016 adoption goal of 2,340 animals.

“The most rewarding thing about working here at Gulf Coast Humane Society is seeing our animals find loving homes of their own,” Walther said. “As you interact with an animal, you become attached, so it’s great to be able to see them leaving with their new family.”

For information on donating, volunteering and adopting, visit

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