The Francis Marion University (FMU) Honors Student Association (HSA) will visit the Jane Boswell Center at the Florence Human Society for an afternoon of community service Saturday, Feb. 8 at 11 p.m.
Dr. Jon Tuttle, English professor and director of the Honors Program, said this is a volunteer event that has been going on at FMU for years.
“This is a practice that predates my tenure on this job [Honors Program director] and is probably the most delightful thing we do.” Tuttle said.
While HSA hosts multiple community service and social events for students involved in the organization each year, Stephen Yokim, senior accounting major and HSA president, said the volunteer day at the Human Society is particularly rewarding.
“We have chosen volunteering at the Humane Society for the past three years because…[it] carries the highest work-to-reward ratio for a small group,” Yokim said. “A group of eight to ten HSA students can help the Human Society catch up on hours of small jobs in just a short afternoon.”
Tuttle said while these small jobs include washing puppies, the students also perform a number of different services while they are there.
“We wash puppies and dishes; we stuff rubber bones with dog food that the dogs then play with and eat; we socialize with the cats…we take the dogs out for exercise, and we sweep and mop and do laundry,” Tuttle said. “We show up in a pack of about 15 people, and they take us wherever they want us.”
Tuttle added that the students are allowed to stay as long as they want to continue helping out, and that they may possibly “fall in love with a…puppy and take it home.”
To Yokim, volunteering at the Humane Society is both a blessing and a curse
“[It is] a blessing because you get to help the other volunteers and workers at the shelter catch up on necessary side jobs…and play with all the puppies in the play pins outside,” Yokim said. “It is also a curse because at the end of the day, you bond with the dogs and cats and have to pry yourself away.”
In the future, both Tuttle and Yokim said they hope that volunteering at the shelter will make more people want to help out the humane society and the general Florence community in other ways.
“We may only be making a small dent in the work that needs to be done, but who knows the effect these events will have throughout our own lives and throughout the community,” Yokim said.
If you would like to help the Florence Human Society, you can donate bags of dog food at participating grocery stores or visit www.florencehumanesociety.org to find out how to get involved.