Critter club wins hearts of students
Animal Hearts spent its second official semester as a student club ‘purr-suing’ its mission of caring for dogs and cats.
“Our main goal is to build an animal shelter here on campus,” said Gabriella Ruiz, president of Animal Hearts. Ruiz, 19, is a biology freshman with a concentration in zoology with plans to become a veterinarian.
Founded in fall 2018, Animal Hearts plans to achieve that through fundraisers and campus events.
One of those events — an Easter egg hunt — occurred the afternoon of April 22 in front of the Central Academic Building.
Ruiz described the event as a “social media scavenger hunt.”
“Basically, whoever follows us on Instagram will be scanning periodically through our page and finding hints about the locations of several plastic eggs. Some of the eggs have coupons in them to win a basket,” Ruiz said.
The day’s overcast skies with blustery weather stirred the energy for students to scavenge for colorful cascarones (eggs) hidden throughout the campus. The cascarones were full of confetti and coupons to win decorative baskets.
One of the basket winners, psychology junior Jessica Perez, said she found the cascaroóe “hidden in the (Jaguar) Java cafe within two minutes” of receiving the hint on Instagram. The hint provided on Instagram read, “I need a pick-me-up after my cat nap.”
Perez’s basket had headphones, pencils, chocolates, candies and school supplies.
Tommy Smith, a business management senior graduating this fall, helped hide the cascarones. Smith is a “basic helper” who assists setting up Animal Hearts’ events.
Smith’s favorite part of the egg hunt is the interaction with people. Smith chuckled as he explained how he likes “experiencing people finding the eggs and cracking them over someone’s head.”
“It’s mostly about getting out there and socializing,” Smith said. When he’s not on campus, Smith enjoys completing gardening jobs that keep him and his two sons busy.
The organization began as an interest group in 2018. Animal Hearts was established and recognized as a student organization as of fall semester of 2018. In January 2019, Ruiz became president of Animal Hearts.
The members of Animal Hearts seem energetic and passionate about the care of animals. They plan to provide buckets on campus for students to easily drop off donations of food and supplies for local animal shelters such as Katie’s Roadside Rescue.
Education freshman Anneka Dahle, 19, is Animal Hearts’ treasurer. Dahle is a professional dog trainer and has been training dogs for 16 years, since she was 3 years old.
Dahle said she is passionate about wanting to educate people on the appropriate behavior with service dogs; she focuses mainly on people understanding “not to touch the service animal, especially when the animal is wearing a vest.”
Ari Hoyle, 20, is a biology sophomore with a concentration in zoology and Animal Hearts’ fundraising manager. She enjoys creating new ideas for fundraising events.
Animal Hearts holds a donation drive the first Monday of every month on campus in front of the CAB to collect donations of dog food and household cleaning supplies to assist the rescue efforts of dogs, and provide aid to Katie’s Roadside Rescue of San Antonio.
Animal Hearts will not hold its monthly donation drive in May and plan to resume their regular schedule for fall semester.
Animal Hearts invites the public to follow their events on Instagram and encourages students to join them by becoming a member through their link in JagSync on the JagWire home page. A member must attend at least one event per month.