Club Corner: Paws

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Officers (left to right) Rachel Jo, Priscilla Suen, and Yong Choi, attend a football game to promote animal welfare.

Sarah Markiewicz , Staff Writer

Almost everyone, pet owner or not, is accustomed to seeing animal shelter commercials with the starry-eyed orphaned dogs and cats. Influenced by these ads or by their own good-natured hearts, members of the second Diamond Bar High School pet club, PAWS, are volunteering their help at local area shelters.

Nearby animal shelters have been helped by a number of DBHS organizations in the past, such as Leash and even clubs that are not affiliated with pets. PAWS club president Priscilla Suen, who is now a senior, took the initiative to begin another pet club last year so that more people at DBHS could participate in caring for strays and gaining community hours. PAWS’ beginnings also came about because Suen felt that the school’s other pet club Leash did not offer enough volunteering opportunities for its members.

“I wanted to start the club because I knew that Leash club was inactive. I wanted something for myself and for other people to volunteer in the community,” Suen said.

After being disillusioned with Leash, she organized PAWS in the first semester of her junior year and it became an official club in February. Since then, the club has attracted about 300 members, who volunteer every weekend.

“This year, we got a lot of new members, most of them freshmen actually, who are really interested in the club,” Rachel Jo, co-treasurer of PAWS, said. Jo, an owner of two dogs, also expressed her happiness with the club. “I get to work towards making it better out there for animals and at the same time enjoying it with some of my friends.”

This year the club is working with two shelters, Cats in Need in Puente Hills and Priceless Pets in Chino Hills, which is also known as the Orphanage.

“The club helps to educate [students] in a way, so if they find a stray they won’t bring it to a kill shelter because we try to encourage no-kill shelters like the places where we volunteer at,” Suen said.

“Sometimes we get requests to do big activities, like when they have a 5k dog walk and we pass out water and walk the dogs.”

These extra activities are offered in addition to other events like a fundraiser for blankets that occurs in the winter.

“The Orphanage, a shelter for dogs, seems to always have more dogs than they are able to handle,” Renata Bienieck, the club’s event coordinator, said over Facebook. “This is why PAWS does not fundraise money, but supplies which can support animal shelters in providing for the inhabiting animals.”

From there, Suen also hopes that PAWS can undertake even greater projects in the future by interacting within the community. In addition, Suen hopes that PAWS will differ from Leash in that it will collaborate with other clubs in the area as a way of branching out.

“We started coordinating with Rowland High School because they have an animal club there too, and we were going to coordinate with them to host an adoption.”

While the club is journeying into its second year, Suen hopes that these possibilities for PAWS to expand will bring more members to participate and to bond with fellow human members and their furry friends.