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The Scarlet & Black

Be a “Pal” for PALS


Conveniently located within 15 minutes of campus, Poweshiek Animal Rescue League Shelter (PALS) is the place to be for Grinnellians missing their beloved furry friends back home. Located on 20th Street, the nondescript house and adjacent kennels that make up the shelter are an ideal place for animal-loving volunteers to congregate.

The shelter is a temporary home for abandoned pets or strays roaming the highway in the Grinnell area.

“I had fostered some animals for [PALS], because they had run out of space and needed someone to foster animals with special needs … It’s like a network of friends, like a Grinnell community,” said PALS board member Sam Cox.

In line with the love and support shown by their volunteers, PALS believes it is their mission to give the animals that end up in the shelter the best care possible. According to Cox, as a no-kill shelter, PALS embraces a mission to help distressed animals in the local area find a “forever home.”

In addition to the support in the form of volunteers from the Grinnell community and student volunteers from Grinnell College, PALS relies upon the goodwill of Poweshiek County to fund its operations, as well as private donations to meet its annual need of 84,000 dollars. PALS also applies for community mini-grants in order to fund necessities, such as heating and electricity in the shelter.

However, according to Cox, both forms of support from the Grinnell community need to be intensified. Times are tough, therefore keeping the shelter up and running is becoming more difficult due to rising costs and lack of space.

“One of the most expensive parts [of the facility] is vet work. We spend a lot of money vetting the animals because we want every animal that comes in to be fixed and healthy,” said Cox, who expressed that there is always a need for a helping hand. “When the students leave, we lose several volunteers, which is always tough. We always need volunteers.”

Because PALS is completely run by volunteers, the hard work the community puts in for the sake of the animals is of utmost importance. Grinnell College students add to the community efforts in their branch of volunteers called Pals for PALS.

“At the end of the spring semester my first year, PALS contacted the College volunteers and asked for a Grinnell group to be a bridge between the Grinnell community and the community at PALS,” said Andie Quinn ’15. “So I and another student that graduated … started Pals for PALS, which provides transportation and volunteers and set up the relationship we have now with the shelter.”

PALS - Contributed
Andie Quinn ’15, a Pals for PALS volunteer cuddles a puppy from the local shelter.

The Grinnell College students that volunteer at PALS are very devoted to the animals, oftentimes because a certain dog or cat reminds them of a beloved pet back at home. According to Quinn, who organizes two to three shifts throughout the week, in which student volunteers work with animals by cleaning, feeding and playing with them, the shelter becomes a home for their volunteers to feel connected to the animals.

Since the volunteers at PALS come from both the Grinnell community and the College working side by side, the volunteers effortlessly create connections between the College and the town.

“We also form bonds with the community members in Grinnell that end up volunteer-ing there. There’s someone who just joined the dining staff who volunteers there … She has a great opinion of the College, we have a great opinion of the town: it creates a great feeling between the town and the College,” Quinn said.

Anyone interested in supporting the animal-loving community at PALS can email [pals] to get involved in volunteer opportunities.

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