Advocates for Animal Awareness hosted the Smooch a Pooch event in the J.W. Jones Student Union Feb. 14.
Advocates for Animal Awareness charged $1 for anyone to get their picture taken with a dog from the Nodaway County Humane Society. All the proceeds went back to the Humane Society after the event.
Vice President for Advocates for Animal Awareness, which is a student run organization, junior Deja Thomas said the event was to get everyone in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, especially since there was a professional photographer there to capture the event.
Advocates for Animals Awareness have been planning this event since last semester. The group had to go through a lot of steps to get permission from both the Humane Society to get the dogs and the Union to host the event there.
Thomas said the thing the organization needed the most was to talk to the Humane Society, since students from the organization would be transporting the dogs back and forth.
“The planning process was just getting into contact with the Humane Society and seeing if they would allow us to do the event and when we were able to do it. It was basically just getting approval,” Thomas said.
Adviser for Advocates for Animal Awareness Kristina Martinez said when the students came up with the idea, she felt a little nervous about people getting that close to shelter dogs.
“These dogs are dogs off the street, they aren’t therapy animals or service animals, so we don’t know what their potential behavior is. Service dogs are trained for people to get close to them; these dogs are not,” Martinez said.
Before anyone even got to go near the dogs, the participants had to sign a waiver that said they were aware that Advocates of Animal Awareness was not liable for anything that happened while they held the dogs.
Martinez is also a part of the board at the Humane Society, which is a group of individuals who work at the Humane Society and deal with the financials and what they can and can’t do with the animals in the shelter. The board approves any activities the animals at the shelter are involved in. She said she easily relays information back and forth between the two groups. Advocates for Animal Awareness works closely with the Humane Society, so this is one of many events they will host with them.
“I look out for what we can help with. I look for what we need to do a fundraiser for or if they need help with an event; that’s what my line of communication is,” Martinez said.
Martinez said this was not only a great fundraiser but also a great publicity event for both groups involved.
“If the people don’t want the picture we take of them, then we’ll just send it over to the Humane Society and they can post them on their social media, and we’ll post them on ours, and it can give both of us some press,” Martinez said.
Advocates for Animal Awareness also sold chocolate in the Union last week in order to benefit the organization.
Fundraising Chair for Advocates for Animal Awareness sophomore Jordan Unger said people who came to buy chocolates also thought about coming back for the event.
“We had some people say they wanted to come to Smooch a Pooch when we promoted it while selling chocolates, so we’re hoping people come,” Unger said. “We got the word out as best as we could.”