“We love our pets,” reads a poster on the Cal State Fullerton Titan Walk filled with colorful sticky notes left by pet owners reaffirming the message.
While students were initially enticed to stop by the booth for the free churros, some stayed to learn more about OC Shelter Partners, a privately-funded charity that tries to reduce the number of pets in the shelter system.
The charity, staffed entirely by volunteers, wanted students to know about the resources it provides, like basic food and veterinary help, in order for new and old pet owners to keep their furry friends.
“I think a lot of the time, when people become new pet owners they get very stressed or overwhelmed with their pets, so they’ll always want to give the dog back to any shelter,” said Ninneth Palomo, an OC Shelter Partner volunteer and senior communications major.
Palomo said she was specifically asked by OC Shelter Partners to reach out to a student audience because the charity would like to make students aware of the resources available to help them properly care for an animal.
A pet owner herself, Palomo said she often finds it difficult to balance being a student with taking care of her dog.
According to the Humane Society, spring is kitten season; a time of year where many cats are reproducing and adding to the shelter population due to few being spayed and neutered.
One of the services OC Shelter Partners offers is a class teaching volunteers how to bottle feed kittens. The class handles kittens that are less than two pounds, with food and supplies provided. The class also works to introduce kittens to potential foster families.
Yvonne Luu, another volunteer and senior communications major, said OC Shelter Partners removes the barriers to becoming a pet owner.
“If you’re having trouble keeping your pet at home in good conditions, they’re willing to chip in and help offer free pet food, medical assistance, pet evaluations and low cost vet referrals,” Luu said. “We can help you get training for this pet and provide you with anything that you need.”