Pups on the Plains seeks to find forever homes for dogs

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Pups on the Plains has one goal: to save dogs’ lives. Shelby Stephens, sophomore in natural resources management, founded Pups on the Plains at Auburn University in September as a student-led organization of people who love dogs and are willing to dedicate time to save dogs’ lives and find them forever homes.

The group’s mission is to rescue dogs who are listed as the next to be euthanized at Columbus Animal Control in Columbus, Georgia.

“There’s a massive overpopulation of dogs in the South because people don’t correctly neuter and spay their dogs,” said Natasha Lloyd, Pups on the Plains business liaison. “The shelters are constantly having to euthanize the dogs. We rescue the dogs that are next to go due to the lack of room in the shelter.”

Pups on the Plains places theses dogs in foster homes and re-homes them once a permanent home can be located. To date, Pups on the Plains has rescued 18 dogs from euthanasia. In addition to their seven-person executive team, Pups on the Plains has approximately 80 college-aged volunteers who help organize and work various events.

“We try to get ourselves involved as much as we can,” Lloyd said. “We do 5Ks with the dogs and we dress our dogs up in donated taco costumes on Tuesdays for ‘Taco Tuesday’ and walk them around campus, which is really fun. We do ‘Rent a Dog,’ where people can pay two dollars to take our dogs for an hour and play with them. We come and speak in biology classes to promote the adoption of our dogs and discuss proper care of dogs and how important it is for owners to spay and neuter their pets.”

For Pups on the Plains, it is just as important to educate people about the great need for proper spaying and neutering to help control the dog population in the South as it is to rescue individual pups.

“One female dog can produce hundreds of puppies in her lifetime,” said Lloyd. “The shelters only have a certain number of cages and once those cages fill up, the only thing they can do is euthanize the dogs. We don’t want to just react to the issue, we want to proactively educate people about the overpopulation issue and start fixing it from the ground up.”

It costs $100 to rescue a dog from the shelter, which does not include the cost of fostering the dog until a permanent home can be found for it. Pups on the Plains hosts benefit nights at restaurants in downtown Auburn to help support their efforts.

“We’re looking for people who can actively foster in their homes and come along to events and be an extra hand,” Lloyd said. “There is so much heart behind this organization. I’m excited to see the ways we continue to grow with continued support from other dog lovers out there.”

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