Mount Allison University is partnering with Moncton’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to create an “animal house” residence in which live-in students will provide care for previously homeless dogs, cats and rabbits during the school year. David Rowland, Mount Allison’s dean of students, says the project will allow students to give their “compassion, energy and skills” to a worthy cause: the saving of unwanted pets.
Starting this September, the 11 students moving into the Carriage House residence will care for and train the pets while advertising in the local community to find permanent new owners for the animals. Many students expressed interest in the initiative, but preference was given to students who were demonstrated pet lovers or who wish to pursue a career with animals, says Mr. Rowland.
The students will not only care for the pets but also will be expected to teach the wider community about the benefits of responsible pet ownership and the issue of unwanted pets. Other students will be invited to visit the residence during designated times to play with the pets, particularly during exams to relieve stress.
The SPCA will provide most of the materials needed to care for the pets, although Mr. Rowland is confident that local businesses and other community members will come forward to sponsor the project. He says he has been unable to find a similar program at other universities. “It’s uncharted waters, which is neat.”