Each year, members of Carolina Helping Paws work to better the lives of animals while promoting mental health among their fellow Tar Heels. Through events on campus, fundraisers and volunteer work, members are promoting pet adoption and providing opportunities for students to ease their stress by spending time with dogs during exams.
The student organization was a perfect fit for co-president Louisa Sperrazza, a junior business major and Spanish and entrepreneurship minor, who joined the group because she missed her dogs while she was at school and wanted to help animals in need.
Learn more about Carolina Helping Paws and their work in the community from Sperrazza.
What is Carolina Helping Paws’ mission?
We’re a group of undergraduate students who are trying to improve the lives of animals in need in the community through volunteering with local animal shelters and organizations, organizing our own on-campus fundraisers and promoting mental health on campus through therapeutic experiences for students to spend quality time with animals. Throughout the year, we do Puppy Kissing Booths, where students make a donation to take a photo with adoptable puppies and members’ dogs in a cutout and get some puppy kisses. We bring animals from rescues and shelters to campus to socialize them. Our event Pits in the Pit educates people about the unfair stigma surrounding pit bulls. During midterms and finals, we bring dogs to campus to provide pet therapy for stressed students.
During our biweekly club meetings, we bake treats for shelter animals, volunteer at rescues and shelters or craft homemade pet toys to donate.
Do volunteers need to have experience with animals to join?
No. We have 150-200 members, and they include everyone from people who miss their own family pets, students who want to work with animals after graduation, those who want to help animals in need and even some who never had a pet but always wanted to.
Why is Carolina Helping Paws’ work so important?
There are thousands of pets with no home, just in the North Carolina shelter system, and our state has a high rate of euthanasia in the shelters. We’re working to promote pet adoption, spread the word about fundraisers, fostering opportunities and available animals and making sure as many pets in need get the care they deserve.
We’re also promoting mental health by giving students the chance to just relax and smile when they pet a dog. It benefits both the animals and the students, and it’s especially nice for students like me who live too far away to see our family pets often and miss them.
How can people get involved with Carolina Helping Paws?
Students can learn more about Carolina Helping Paws by checking out our social media or website, and they can sign up to volunteer by filling out an application. Other student groups or volunteer organizations who are interested in partnering with us can send us an email at email@example.com.