Just a couple of hours into the 2012 World Education Congress (WEC), conference goers gathered in the America’s Center Convention Complex (ACCC) lobby to partake in the community service project, which benefited Stray Rescue of St. Louis.
The group split into two, with one segment staying behind at the ACCC for the “Doggie Treat Baking Workshop,” while the other boarded a bus to Stray Rescue’s nearby animal shelter to help in a “Doggie Day Spa.”
The second of its kind to happen in St. Louis—the first taking place last year at an ASAE conference—Jason Schipkowski, director of marketing and development, says these types of events are simply incredible for the organization.
“There are a couple components to it—it gives us general awareness about what we do and responsible pet guardianship,” he said. “As far as [the participant’s] direct contact with the dogs—they get socialized and get lots of attention—it helps them become more adoptable.”
Schipkowski added that the quicker the dogs are able to become fully adoptable, the quicker the organization is able to rescue other stray dogs within the city. He says Stray Rescue holds more than 500 dogs in its locations.
Back at the ACCC commercial kitchen, participants learned from experienced bakers who specialize in making tasty dog treats.
At the Stray Rescue headquarters, WEC volunteers manned three different stations—bathing, drying and grooming—to essentially spoil the dogs with a spa day. One-by-one, dogs were brought from their kennels, in the air-conditioned shelter, to the yards outside to receive their pampering.
“It’s important to get shelter dogs ready for adoption,” said Sarah Ferreira, senior corporate event specialist for SVB Financial Group. “I’ve always had shelter dogs, so for me, this is kind of a perfect fit to give back and get the dogs clean and ready for adoption.”
For Megan McGuire, event specialist for Express Services Inc., it was an opportunity that she couldn’t pass up as an avid animal lover.
“Being able to come here and do this while I’m here to learn about my industry is a really great incentive,” McGuire said. “The things that [Stray Rescue] does here is really amazing, and for 63 people on staff to take care of these wonderful animals is pretty cool.”
At the conclusion of the project, the group that stayed at the ACCC met with the other volunteers at the shelter to bring the freshly baked doggie treats to complete the dogs’ day spa.
If you missed the CSR project and the first day of Puppy Cuddling, there are ample opportunities at WEC to give some love to energetic puppies at the Level 2 plaza atrium from 3:30-6:30 p.m. today, 9:30-11 a.m. and 3:30-6:30 p.m. on Monday and 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesday.