The Potter League in Middletown, Rhode Island, is the animal shelter of Newport County, which shelters unaccompanied companion animals and places them in safe and healthy homes, educates the community to embrace humane principals and provide the best care for their pets, provides community support programs for pet owners, and expands access to essential veterinary care for companion animals.
Liv McGowan, class of 2023, is a service advocate at The Potter League, peer mentor, chemistry major, part of the Pell honors program, does research with Dr. Arruda in the chemistry department, and still puts aside additional time to help others volunteer as well.
McGowan recently hosted two service projects for the Potter League, in which student volunteers made fleece tie blankets for cats and dogs, as well as cat toys. At the first event, volunteers had fun getting to know one another and made 22 blankets for animals in the shelter.
While speaking with the student volunteers, McGowan said, “I realized that all of us there had some connection to animals that made us feel compassionate enough to help the animals of our community who need some extra love.”
McGowan typically spends hours at a time playing and snuggling with the cats but wanted to make sure they still felt the love when nobody could be there.
“These blankets are going to the current residents at the Potter League who need a little extra love and happiness,” McGowan shares. “Making them a comfort item for them to have when volunteers cannot be there for them made me feel as though I have helped them in some greater way.”
Speaking of current residents who need love and happiness, McGowan mentions a resident pit bull, Hank, who has been at the shelter for quite some time. The Potter League describes Hank in a recent Instagram post as “a classic gentleman with many a pearls of wisdom to bestow on you. He is charming, laid back, and so very loveable. Hank walks politely on leash, will wait for his people to catch up and he always looks back to make sure you’re still there. He’s happy to tug along at whatever pace you choose.”
Hank and many of the other animals at the Potter League are looking for their forever homes and are eager to meet their new families. McGowan shares, “Thinking that these wonderful spirits don’t have homes makes me feel heartbroken, but I feel like I have found a way to make them feel loved by the work I do with the Potter League. I am hoping that giving them something to snuggle with will help dogs like Hank feel more love!”
If you are interested in helping provide joy and comfort to the animals at the Potter League but don’t have time to volunteer, please grab a tag off one of the Angel Trees around campus, as the items listed on these tags are desperately needed. Not every pet will have a home for the holidays so providing pet food and supplies will help make their stay at the shelter a bit more enjoyable.