Story and Photo by Molly Longman
Breeze, a 2-year-old retriever-lab mix, loves giving hugs more than most dogs love Beggin’ Strips.
Katlynn Moen, a Drake University sophomore, discovered this one afternoon while volunteering at the Animal Rescue League of Iowa.
“That was one of the most fulfilling moments. There’s nothing that can compare to being able to help animals out, even if the most you get in return is a puppy hug,” Moen said.
Last year Moen established the organization Bulldog Paws on Drake’s campus. Bulldog Paws allows students to connect and reach out to the community by volunteering at animal shelters.
Volunteering with animals has been a part of Moen’s life since she was 12 years old.
Moen, a Fargo, N.D., native, said, “I started volunteering when I was young, and it’s not something that you can just stop doing once you realize the impact you’re making.”
Moen said she adopted two cats of her own, Stella and Luna, so she knew first-hand how great changing an animal’s life could feel.
Moen left her home her cats and the organization to head south to Iowa for school at Drake.
She loved life at Drake, but something was missing.
There were no animal shelters in close proximity to campus, and she had no transportation to get to a shelter off campus.
There were also no campus organizations that allowed students to volunteer with animals. Yet.
Moen and another Drake student, Lewis Backus, co-founded Bulldog Paws.
The two were responsible for making a proposal to Student Senate, finding an advisor for the group and jumping through numerous other hoops to get the organization started.
Bulldog Paws provides transportation for students to visit the Animal Rescue League of Iowa twice a month.
While there, students walk and groom the animals and make sure they have a clean area and bedding.
“One of the best things that we can do is play with the animals and tire them out,” Moen said.
The organization holds monthly meetings to make sure all members volunteer at least twice a month, to talk about upcoming events, and to share experiences.
They currently have almost 20 members.
Moen serves as the vice president of Bulldog Paws.
Her duties include conducting meetings, keeping track of the members’ volunteer hours and coming up with fundraising events for the organization.
Most recently, Moen organized a “Rescues for Relays” fundraiser that earned $35 for the organization. She also organized a “Share your Luck” fundraiser for St. Patrick’s Day that raised $25 and collection drive for the rescue league earlier in the year.
Bulldog Paws isn’t the only thing keeping Moen busy.
She is a part of Delta Theta Phi, the pre-law fraternity on Drake’s campus, and serves as carnival chair of the Drake Relays committee.
She also is a part of the Admission Cole-ition, which allows her to give campus tours and talk with perspective students.
As an law, politics and society, English and history major, Moen rarely has a spare moment.
This is why she says she really enjoys volunteering with animals.
It allows her to relax while helping a cause that’s important to her.