Yes, you read the title correctly. I am talking a dog walking class at East Carolina University. It sounds silly, but I can assure you it is more valuable that you may initially think.
It’s my senior year at ECU, and on top of the required courses I need to complete prior to graduation, I also had a few extra hours to fill. In previous semesters, I heard rumors about a dog walking class at ECU. As most of you may know, dogs hold a huge place in my heart. So naturally, when I had the opportunity to pick any class that I would like to take during my last semester in college, I picked this course.
What We Do
Every Monday, Wednesday, and sometimes even on Friday mornings, I meet with a group of ECU students at the Pitt County Animal Shelter. There are always many dogs at the shelter that are ready to get out of their kennels to go on a walk. Some dogs have been at the shelter for a while and others are new arrivals that came in as a stray or an owner surrender.
Every morning when I arrive at the shelter, I always pet each dog before going to the back of the building to grab a collar and leash. Each student has the opportunity to pick one of the dogs to walk for the day. We take the dogs out for an hour long walk and spend time with the individual dog that we chose for the duration of the class. After the walk is complete, we then give the dogs a treat.
Sometimes, if there are puppies at the shelter, we get to play with them after we complete our walk with the other dogs. As you can see, this class is a lot of fun. Especially if you are a big dog person like I am.
Why It’s Important
To some, this class is just another opportunity to obtain credit hours. However, for me, it is so much more. Not only do I get the opportunity to spend time with these sweet animals, but I also get to make a difference in their lives.
Shelter dogs tend to become “kennel crazy” when they are confined too long, especially in a stressful shelter environment. So, the more exercise they receive, the better they behave and the higher the chance that they will be adopted. This is why shelter volunteers are so crucial because these individuals are able to give the dogs a break from their shelter confinement and have genuinely caring human interactions.
Check out this video to learn more about Pitt County Animal Shelter and their mission.
As you can see, volunteers can make a huge difference in the lives of these animals. If not for us, these dogs wouldn’t obtain the proper exercise, love, and care that they truly need in order to find their fur-ever home. Now you know why this dog walking class is so much more valuable than just a few extra course credit hours.
I always look forward to going to the shelter so I can walk these precious animals. If you’re looking for a good service opportunity that is very rewarding, I highly recommend volunteering at your closest animal shelter.