Helping Hounds

Senior Taylor Rivkin works with the Canine Collective to find new homes for dogs. Rivkin is a resident of the Modern Foreign Languages House. (Photo courtesy of Taylor Rivkin ’14)

Senior Taylor Rivkin works with the Canine Collective to find new homes for dogs. Rivkin is a resident of the Modern Foreign Languages House. (Photo courtesy of Taylor Rivkin ’14)

Saving lives is almost routine for three Ohio Wesleyan University seniors.

Taylor Rivkin, Alisa Nammavong, and Hayley Winslow, residents of the Modern Foreign Languages small living unit (SLU), work with central Ohio’s Canine Collective to rescue dogs from pounds and unhealthy homes. Without intervention, the animals likely would have to be euthanized or would die from mistreatment.

The three OWU students foster dogs through the organization one at a time. They decide which animals to bring home based on size, personality, and, Rivkin says, “cuteness.”

It is a majority rule vote, and once a dog is brought to campus, the students begin the process of getting it ready for adoption. Rivkin says a SLU is the perfect place to get a skittish dog accustomed to human interaction. With about 10 people constantly in and out of the house, not to mention friends, the dogs quickly learn to interact with people.

Once a dog is ready to be adopted, the students take it to a weekly adoption event at PetSmart in Dublin. They are there for three hours every Saturday telling people about the dog and playing with all the dogs there.

If all goes well, the animal is adopted, and the process starts over again. The students’ last rescue was a dog mistreated by a breeder. The dog was malnourished, overbred, and never let outside. Thankfully, it is now in a happy home where it will receive plenty of food and see lots of sun.

“It’s a really rewarding experience,” says Rivkin, “definitely something you have to seek out and be passionate about.”

He says they become attached to the animals, but find that it’s not so much sad to see the dogs go as it is rewarding to know the animals now should lead happy, healthy lives.

The OWU friends average about six fosters a semester, and Rivkin recalls only one dog being returned in his years with the program.

To learn more about the Canine Collective, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization serving Franklin, Delaware, Licking, Fairfield, Pickaway, Madison and Union counties, visit www.caninecollective.org.

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