Daily Egyptian

Freshman creates RSO to relieve student stress and help animal shelters

By Marcus Burton, Staff Writer

Freshman Isabel Yunker created Pause for Paws within the first week of her first fall semester at SIU because of her love for animals and her belief they can help with stress.

“It is a very long process to begin an RSO, so the club itself was very recently approved,” Yunker said.

Pause for Paws is an opportunity for students to volunteer several times a week at Wright-Way Rescue, a non-profit animal shelter in Murphysboro.

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“Our Primary focus is to help pets in the Midwest that find themselves in need of rescue,” Director at Wright Way Rescue Christy Anderson said.

Anderson said the rescue center provides veterinary care for animals that are homeless or animals whose owners are struggling financially.

“Our prices are incredibly low because we understand how expensive vets can be,” Anderson said.

Yunker said a further reason she created Pause for Paws was because she misses her own animals. “I miss them very much,” Yunker said. “It is strange living without them when you have lived with animals your entire life.”

The club will also host fundraisers for the school and the local community to raise money for the shelter and the club.

Yunker believes that her RSO will not only help animals in need, but help students relieve stress.

“In a very general way, animals help you get your mind off the stressful areas in your life, resulting in an overall lower level of stress,” Yunker said. “More scientifically, when an animal is present and you are engaging with them, a neurotransmitter called dopamine — a chemical that is responsible for the feeling of happiness — is released in your brain.”

In order to be eligible for this RSO you must maintain a GPA of a 2.0 or higher and you must have a love for dogs that need help, Yunker said.

As of now, there is no set time for the RSO to meet each month/week.

The RSO does plan to hold a monthly meeting to discuss new business/activities with the members and visit local shelters to volunteer on a weekly basis.

The RSO advisor, Heather Pulley, said Yunker reached out to her with the idea of creating Pause for Paws.

“I am a former employee of Wright-Way Rescue so I understand their significant need for a dedicated volunteer base and first-hand how much the animals will benefit,” Pulley said.

Pulley will work closely with the Wright-Way team to make sure the Pause for Paws RSO is serving them in the way that most benefits the animals in the shelter.

Wright-Way Rescue will be the main focus of the RSO as it gets started. Pulley said once the RSO gains more members she would love to expand to other shelters.

In animal shelters that have a lot of animals and low staff, Pulley said the animals don’t get enough fresh air or attention, and suffer from it mentally.

“Having students volunteer at these shelters will help these animals feel loved, get some exercise, training, and most importantly, get adopted,” Pulley said.

The club will also host fundraisers for the school and the local community to raise money for the shelter and the club Yunker said.

The first meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 8th at 4:30 p.m. in room 209 of the Agriculture building.

Staff writer Marcus Burton can be reached at [email protected]

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