AU ‘rent-a-puppy’ a success

Mon, 2008-05-05 11:02 -- univcomm
May 5, 2008

Baby could hardly keep his eyes open by 2 p.m.

The beagle-mix puppy was in high demand at Anderson University during “Rent-a-Puppy,” a fundraising event for social service organization Alacritas.

“It’s good publicity for us and the shelter,” said 20-year-old Samantha Smith, president of the group.

For $1, students could play and pet and cuddle with one of the six puppies out for rent.

“I’m part of Alacritas, so I was just coming to help out,” Jaime Kuhnle, 22, said as she lay on the grass while Baby slept on her chest. “It’s really creative idea to raise money for the club and also to raise awareness.”

Jessica Combs, 21, fundraising officer for Alacritas coordinated the effort with Terri Kelley from the shelter. Combs said she found the idea on Web sites for other colleges and approached Anderson Animal Care and Control about doing it.

“We wanted to raise money for Alacritas, but we’re getting something for the shelter, too,” she said. “There was no goal amount. We’re just attempting to raise whatever we could.”

Almost 100 students participated in the program, which started early because of a crowd ready to rent. From 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., students played in the “valley” on campus with the puppies.

“This was incredibly positive,” said Claudia Smith, a contracted employee with the city shelter.

“And it makes college students more aware of volunteer opportunities,” Kelley added.

A few people expressed interest in adopting the puppies — Derby, Foxy, Marvin, Rudy, Baby and Pumpkin. Some said they would be lining up Monday morning in front of the shelter to get to Baby first.

“The dogs are so happy,” Claudia Smith said. “It’ll be hard to take them back (to the shelter).”

—Jessica Kerman is a reporter for the Herald Bulletin in Anderson. Story republished with permission. Photos by John P. Cleary.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2008, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the fourth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 60 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.