The Greenville Humane Society (GHS) in Greenville, South Carolina is a beloved institution in the community. It’s one of the largest no-kill shelters in the Southeast and has been rated the best humane society in the nation. They vaccinate, spay, neuter, and adopt dogs and cats at an incredible rate. On top of that, their community outreach programs touch over 40,000 lives each year. It’s no surprise that the students at Furman University are always eager to volunteer for the Greenville Humane Society.
The first club I joined at Furman University, was a GHS sponsored program called Puppy therapy. Bonnie Wallin, the Director of Humane Education, brought a puppy to the activities fair and that’s all it took for me to sign up. Little did I know, the Greenville Humane Society would foster my love of animals as well as my love for Furman.
The pet and puppy therapy programs are incredible. Pet therapy involves “renting” out a GHS dog and bringing it to a local nursing home, mental health or rehab facility, or a shelter. The goal of pet therapy is to promote socialization, improve self-esteem, and provide entertainment and acceptance of animals. The program is so successful that it’s partnered with 90% of senior care facilities in Greenville County. From personal experience, the program works. Not only does it benefit the visitors, but it has a lasting impact on the volunteers as well.
Puppy therapy is a little different. This program also involves “renting” out a GHS dog. Volunteers bring the dog to a local community center of after school program with kids between the ages of 5-13. The goal of puppy therapy is to teach a lesson about dogs to children to foster their understanding and love for the animal. Many of the children the volunteers visit have either had a bad experience with dogs or no experience at all. So, it’s important to expose the children to dogs in order to create a positive mindset.
GHS is important to Furman University students. In addition to the many student volunteers and puppy foster parents, GHS is a safe haven. After a stressful day of classes and other obligations, my friends and I will drive the 20 minutes down the road just to hold some puppies. During midterm and finals week, my snapchat stories consist of Furman students and GHS puppies. We are all grateful we have a place like GHS to visit! For more information, please watch the video I produced below!