Happier animals, happier community

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Christiansburg, Va., April 25- New and Improved: The new Montgomery County Animal Care and Adoption Center has increased space for animals and volunteers. Photo: Becca Tedesco

by Becca Tedesco, Hayley Olivenbaum, J.B. Wright–

According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), approximately 6.5 million animals enter U.S animal shelters every year. One shelter in the New River Valley area is working to make the lives of those animals happier and healthier.

The grand opening of the new Montgomery County Animal Care and Adoption Center was April 29, 2017. The new shelter is over 16,000 square feet, a 288 percent increase in space compared to the previous shelter. With this increase in space, there is obviously much more room for animals to be housed. Due to the larger facility, the center is moving towards a no kill policy and focusing more on making sure the animals are either adopted or sent to a rescue.

“It’s so much brighter and there’s so much more room. The animals are going to be more adoptable because they are so much happier,” said Director Eileen Mahan.

The staff and volunteers are proud of their new center and hope that it will be a place that adds more community involvement. Not only will the center be a place that houses animals, but it also includes a community room to hold meetings,  paint nights and other community events.

Mahan has already seen the impact the new facility has had on the volunteers and animals. The center has a greater ability to keep the shelter clean and this has a direct effect on everyone that comes in contact with it.

The shelter can now hold 68 dogs and 64 cats, a 310 percent increase in the number of animals housed. Not only that, but the shelter stays open much longer during the week.

The new shelter includes a shower for staff to wash off in after working with animals, a laundry room to wash animals blankets and dishes, a surgical room for vets to come and perform minor surgeries on animals and an indoor food room, all things the previous center didn’t include.

There are many ways that people can help at the new center – from walking and bathing dogs, to doing laundry and caring for recently abandoned or adopted pets. Even Montgomery County inmates are able to come in and help around the center.

This shelter is one of many that is working towards helping to lower the average of euthanized animals each year. It is also hoping that it can teach the community the importance of making sure that stray animals are taken care of properly.


Passion for prayer

Blacksburg, Va., March 16- Power of Prayer: A student at Virginia Tech takes time out of his busy schedule to pray in the new prayer room located in Squires Student Center. Photo: Becca Tedesco

by Becca Tedesco–

With over 60 religious organizations at Virginia Tech, it is evident that the school cares about its student’s beliefs and backgrounds. One action that Virginia Tech has just taken is the addition of a prayer/meditation section located on the second floor of Squires Student Center.

This section of Squires is utilized by many students of many different religious backgrounds, but one group seems to find it very resourceful. The Muslim Student Association is a group of students that are given the opportunity to  “come together in a supportive Muslim environment and seek to educate the local communities about Islam.”

Muslims are required to pray at very specific times each day.  According to Islamic Relief USA, there are five times throughout the day that a Muslim is supposed to pray: Dawn, Sunrise, Noon, Afternoon, Sunset and Night. Since Muslims are required to pray so often, this resource is extremely beneficial. Students have a place that they can go during a crazy school day that they feel comfortable praying in. The space provides a clean area with mats; something that a Muslim must have in order to pray.

In addition to a clean area, a Muslim must also have a clean body, which is why they wash their arms, face and hair before going to pray. The area located in Squires has no door, so it is open for use as long as the building is open. Although many Muslim students use it, people of other religious backgrounds that also want to pray also use it. Other people go just to sit in silence or meditate. Who knows, maybe it won’t always be for prayer. Maybe it will become a place where people can open up about their faith to others?

Blacksburg, Va., March 16-Brothers Coordinator: Ahmad Edrees is a junior Electrical Engineer. He is the Brothers Coordinator for Virginia Tech’s Muslim Student Association. Photo: Becca Tedesco