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Spring breakers lend a hand at Collierville Animal Shelter

By Jennifer CaseyDog Walking (1)

Thinking about Spring Break often creates images of the sun and sand for a beach getaway or even a snowy slope for a ski trip.

However, there are groups of college students who choose to spend their break participating in service projects, and the Collierville Animal Shelter is one of their destinations.

The concept of alternative breaks gained popularity in the mid-eighties as a counter to “traditional” trips. With a focus on a particular social issue, students are immersed in a new environment that encourages them to experience and gain insight from hands-on community service.

Not only is this a drug and alcohol free activity, but it instills a greater sense of community involvement upon returning home and into their professional careers. Sixteen groups of students from the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas have traveled across the United States to participate in various service projects. One group chose to spend their Spring Break at the Collierville Animal Shelter helping with projects and daily functions.

These five students along with a staff advisor will spend the week walking dogs, cleaning kennels, washing blankets, organizing storage facilities, among other duties. As biology majors, the students have an interest in animal science and a few have hopes of becoming veterinarians.

When asked what they liked most about working at the animal shelter, the popular response was dog walking.

“I think I like walking the dogs best because you get to see their different personalities,” said Taylor Jones. “Some are very excited and others more laid back.”

The students also hope to participate in an adoption day later in the week. While staying in Memphis at the Pilgrim House, they will also participate in sightseeing around the city, with Graceland and the National Civil Rights Museum as two of their first stops.

Many colleges and universities have opportunities for students to participate in alternative breaks, whether in the spring, summer or winter.

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