UA club aims to protect disposed animals around Tucson
While many philanthropy groups focus on helping people, a new UA club provides a voice for humanity’s four-legged friends.
The Wildcats Committed to Animal Rescue and Education aims to protect disposed animals around Tucson.
Amanda Gunderson and Ashley Gurevitz, the club’s president and vice president, respectively, founded the club with the mission to help local homeless and abused animals through volunteering, educating and fundraising. Both Gunderson and Gurevitz are kitten owners and frequent animal shelter volunteers.
At monthly meetings, those in the club research educational topics to discuss among members and start dialogues about potential animal response and care. Topics of discussion vary from issues such as Responsible Pet Ownership and trap, neuter and release programs for feral cats, collaborated between the two leaders.
After talking about Responsible Pet Ownership, members then wrote a pledge for their responsibilities as pet owners and personal promotion of responsible pet ownership. Such conversations allow for a broader understanding of what animal rescue truly means.
Club members also volunteer at the Pima Animal Care Center and Pima Paws for Life. With two volunteer events planned per month, the club also plans to help the Hermitage Cat Shelter and the Humane Society of Southern Arizona.
The club recently had a fundraiser at Mama’s Hawaiian BBQ to benefit Pima Paws for Life and raise money to be donated for animal food, space and other resources shelters are commonly in need of due to having large numbers of orphaned, abandoned or homeless animals.
Pima Paws for Life offers a refuge for homeless animals, encouraging adoptions and fostering. It also has special programs for fostering, adopting or caring for special needs animals. Because 12,000 animals a year are killed in shelters, the no-kill organization protests such actions and seeks safer environments for all animals.
Organizations such as these are always in need of volunteers and donations to further enhance the quality of care they can offer their animals. Wildcats CARE’s contribution helps aid the lives of the animals they seek to protect.
“Our goal as a club is to have at least two fundraisers a semester benefiting different animal shelters,” Gunderson said.
Future endeavors for the club include touring a wildlife rescue, a horse rescue and recruiting more members for the upcoming spring semester.
Alena Hassan, the club’s treasurer, said she enjoys the club’s devotion to giving animals a voice as well as letting the public know their personal effects on animals and how to help. Hassan said she loves how the volunteer events give her a chance to bond with an animal and hopefully watch them get adopted.
“I personally have always had a special place in my heart toward animals,” Hassan said, “and wanted to join a club [which] was set out to [make] a difference.”
Those in the group hope to share such experiences with the UA community and inspire others to take active roles in animal advocacy. By educating its members and the public, club members want to reach a large audience of animal lovers.
“It’s a rewarding experience when I see a dog or cat I helped get adopted,” Gurevitz said. “It continues to remind me why I go and volunteer: to ensure that each animal gets the loving home they deserve.”