Students to help at Mutt Strut

Published 8:00 pm Friday, May 1, 2015

When the Suffolk Humane Society’s Mutt Strut comes to Camp Arrowhead on May 3, the Nansemond-Suffolk Academy Animal Lovers Club will be helping out for the second year running.

The club started in 2013 and has 24 students, said NSA lower school assistant headmaster Jean Mauck, the club’s advisor along with Kimberly Brinkley, who works in the after-school program.

“The whole club was set up to be a partner with Suffolk Humane Society,” she said.

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Suffolk Humane members attend the club’s monthly meetings and help plan its programs, according to Mauck.

“Last year was our first year, and we ended the year with involvement in Mutt Strut,” she said.

Some club members attended a Suffolk Humane meeting a couple of weeks ago to talk about their involvement in this year’s Strut, according to Mauck.

The third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students will work in the children’s area, according to Suffolk Humane’s Kay Hurley.

They’ll run three different games for small prizes: catch, agility and come/stay, and “a doggie version of red light/green light.”

Mauck said club members also will have an NSA information booth.

“Our kids truly have a heart for animals, and I do to,” she said.

Mauck said the club is a way to teach the children to respect and care for animals, as well as to support their community.

“Our school is very involved in community service — giving back and extending yourself beyond yourself.”

Fifth-grader Pari Nanvaty will be one of the student volunteers at the event. “I think it’s a good event. It’s not every day you see adoptions happen — it saves animals’ lives,” she said.

Meredith Edwards, a fourth-grader, said she has two dogs and a bunny at home. “If you are really bored, sometimes they can help you,” Meredith said of having pets.

“And they are very nice to cuddle with if you are sad. My bunny, Ninja, he’s fun to play with, because he’s always climbing somewhere.”

Mauck said Suffolk Humane education committee member Ginger Owen is a big contributor to the animal lovers’ club. The children really like having animals at the meetings, she added.

“We try to make sure the meetings involve a live animal,” she said. “We’ve had reptiles, we’ve had birds; we’ve had wildlife rescuers come.”

Third-grader Anabelle Richards said a rescued Rottweiler was her favorite animal visitor to a club meeting.

“He was really pretty,” she said.