Homeless pets outnumber homeless people 5 to 1; only 1 in 10 animals in animal shelters are spayed or neutered; thus, organizations like the Independent Cat Society (ICS), a non-profit, cage-less, no kill cat shelter are vital community resources (Gaille, 2017). At the ICS, every cat admitted is spayed or neutered and updated on any needed medical treatment; feline overpopulation is addressed through trap, neuter, release (TNR), and additional programs to educate the public on responsible animal care practices (“About the ICS,” 2019). Through volunteerism and two Purdue Service-Learning grants, the Purdue University Northwest student organization S.H.I.N.E (students helping ignite needed esteem) has helped the ICS continue to impact the community. S.H.I.N.E first worked to clean up the ICS grounds and revitalized the ICS shop, and then helped modify the main areas of the shelter to accommodate the increase in rescues and allow for better cat care. The article has wide applications for readers overall, as it details the important community need, civic engagement, and volunteer experiences of the project. Throughout the process, volunteers learned crucial management skills, creative ways to make a difference in the community during a Pandemic while following COVID-19 protocols, and the importance of caring for our natural environment and dedicating time to volunteering. It was incredible to see the impact firsthand through the accomplishments of the ICS; in 2020, 351 cats were spayed and neutered, and 299 were adopted into loving homes.
"Uniting for Important Paws: The Independent Cat Society and S.H.I.N.E.,"
Purdue Journal of Service-Learning and International Engagement: Vol. 9
Available at: https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/pjsl/vol9/iss1/6