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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Campus club is not kitten around

    Campus+club+is+not+kitten+around

    Animal lovers at the UA use their passions to help homeless and abused animals through Wildcats Committed to Animal Rescue and Education.

    This club helps animals through members volunteering at animal shelters such as Pima Paws for Life and Pima Animal Care Center.

    Amanda Gunderson, a business management senior, and Ashley Gurevitz, a public administration graduate student, founded Wildcats CARE in September 2014.

    “We started it because the former club that existed on campus called Cause for Paws had unfortunately ended and we felt that it was important for students to stay involved in animal welfare,” said current Wildcats CARE vice president Gurevitz.

    Wildcats CARE members volunteer at Pima Paws for Life and Hearts That Purr. They try to offer different activities as well, such as touring the Ironwood Pig Sanctuary. They also work with the Hermitage No-Kill Cat Shelter and the county shelter. They try to provide many different opportunities for their members.

    Haylee Coleman, an undeclared freshman and Wildcats CARE club member, is invested in volunteering and going to shelters.

    “I’m really passionate about helping out because without all of the volunteers, the shelters can’t keep running,” Coleman said. “If they are no-kill shelters, the way they get grants and money is because of the volunteers, so without enough volunteers, they can’t run.”

    Wildcats CARE also puts on fundraisers to raise money for different animal shelters.

    They fundraise by doing percentage nights at restaurants close to campus every semester, with 75 percent of the funds from fundraising being donated to the shelter of the club’s choice. Club members vote on which shelter they donate to, but donations vary.

    Sometimes, the club purchases items on the shelter’s wish list or provides them what they need at the moment. Other times, they will make a check donation if the shelter has a lot of vet bills.

    The extra 25 percent is kept for club funds that they use to buy members snacks and treat distinguished members of the club out to dinner at the end of the semester.

    The club’s greatest fundraiser is through its Wildcats CARE T-shirt sale. Wildcats CARE is selling club T-shirts until March 16 to raise money for an animal shelter called Angels for Animals.

    Geneva Fitzgerald, political science junior and Wildcats CARE event coordinator, has always had a passion for animals and enjoys learning about how she can help animal shelters in the Tucson area.

    “I joined in October 2014 because animals have always been a huge part of my life and I’ve always had a huge love for animals,” Fitzgerald said. “I was so happy to find a club that loves what I love to do. I joined to meet other people who love animal rescue and also to find out more about the shelters around Tucson.”

    Members learn about animal welfare topics such as Trap-Neuter-Return, declawing cats, pet safety in high temperatures, finding a lost pet, pet safety around the holidays and information about receiving animals as gifts.

    “I believe that animal welfare is a really important issue that people need to understand and realize that adopting an animal is a lifetime commitment,” said Dr. Cindi Gilliland, professor of practice in management and organizations and Wildcats CARE club adviser. “Wildcats CARE is a lot of fun and a great way to bond with people who love animals. It feels like you’re making a difference in the community every time you go walk dogs or pet cats when you help with the different shelters.”

    There are also guest speakers who talk to the club’s members and officers. In the past, they have had a police dog and officer, Southern Arizona Greyhound Adoption, Angels for Animals and a veterinary technician from the Hermitage Cat Shelter come and speak.

    “My favorite thing about the club has been meeting so many great people [who] are also passionate about animal rescue,” Gunderson said. “It’s great also to see animals that you’ve been volunteering with for the past few months and they finally get adopted. While it’s sad that they won’t be there at the shelter anymore, it’s also great knowing that they have a really good home now and that they will never spend a day in the shelter again. It kind of breaks my heart, but it’s a great feeling as well.”

    If you are interested in joining Wildcats CARE, you can contact Gunderson, at agunderson@email.arizona.edu.

    You can also follow Wildcats CARE on Facebook by searching Wildcats CARE or follow them on Instagram: @wildcats_care.


    Follow Laurel Reisch on Twitter.


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