It might seem strange that a group dedicated to helping injured or in-need animals met on Nov. 14 in Lenhardt’s rec room… to bake.
But Millersville’s chapter of Helping Paws wasn’t baking cookies or cupcakes. The group was baking dog and cat treats to sell as a part of their winter fundraiser.
The meeting felt more like a group of friends getting together and less like a club: bags of lollipops lay open on the pool table for the members, who sat around talking about their own pets and the animals they’d like to adopt.
“This group allows people in dorms who can’t have pets to be hands on with animals,” says Christina Rinehart, president of the MU chapter, who had to leave her dog at home when she came to MU.
The group strives to help animals that are injured or in need through “volunteer work and fundraising,” according to their Get Involved page. They also find homes for feral cats on campus.
Part of their volunteer work is with the Humane League. The group will sometimes feed, water, brush, or cuddle with animals at the Humane League. But they mostly help with fundraisers, because unlike other activities, this requires no training. So, even the newest members can help.
One event the group was involved with was Tailwaggers Trot, a 1.5 mile walk from Clipper Stadium to Buchanan Park in Lancaster. About 70 vendors littered the park, selling almost anything pet related: everything from puppy sweaters to pet photography.
Recently the group was involved in Paw Balls, a Halloween/Masquerade party where even the pets dressed up. MU’s Helping Paws also traveled to Cape May to go whale watching. Unfortunately, their upcoming trip to Assateague Island had to
be cancelled because of Superstorm Sandy’s devastation.
Instead they had the choice to walk in a parade or go to Zoo America and then Hershey’s Sweet Lights. But it’s not the fun trips which bring in members: it’s their love of animals.
“It brings opportunities to volunteer in ways that you wouldn’t usually have,” said Bri White, who joined Helping Paws this semester.
And it certainly is unusual to find a group of college kids baking for animals. However, at the end of the regular meeting, after the usual club business, the members head to the kitchen and break into two groups: one for dog treats and one for cat treats. The group doesn’t hesitate and dives right into mixing and rolling the dough.
Helping Paws will be using these homemade treats as a part of their winter fundraiser, which is the biggest fundraiser of the year for them. Students will be able to purchase the treats, along with a toy and a recipe card Dec. 4-6 and 10-13 in the SMC or the North Side Bistro, depending on the day.
In addition, there is a candy fundraiser going on. For just $1 you can purchase a candy bar from a member to support Helping Paws. MU’s Helping Paws is always accepting new members.
“I like it because all types of people can join,” said Treasurer Richard Khuu, who has been in Helping Paws for three years.
The group has both a Get Involved page and a Facebook page (“Helping Paws of Millersville University”) that students who are interested in joining can check out.