It was a time for sharing those 4-legged members of the family with lonely college students on Saturday, April 17, with the second annual Pup-A-Palooza at Maryville College.
Maryville College faculty, staff and community members were encouraged to bring their dogs to school for some love and attention from on-campus residents.
In addition, Pup-A-Palooza was a fundraiser and awareness event for the Smoky Mountain Animal Care Foundation, who brought some dogs and puppies from the Blount County Animal Center in need of adoption.
“There were two successful adoptions, which was awesome,” said graduating senior Amber Gray, who helped organize the event for the second year.
Pup-A-Palooza began last year as an idea hatched separately then brought together by Gray, Maryville College’s Vice President and Dean of Students Vandy Kemp and Kristin Gourley, MC director of student involvement. Gray is a Resident Assistant and missed her own pets as she lived on campus, so she was looking for a way to bring dogs to campus as one of the RA special events. Getting together with Gourley and Kemp brought the idea to fruition last year, and the event now continues annually.
“It was a great success last year and again this year,” said Gray. “We estimate that approximately 100 dogs were on campus during the day. The weather was not great in the beginning, but it turned out fine, and everyone had a good time.”
In addition to just playing with the dogs, there were raffles and a pet costume contest, games, live music, dog-treats and food for the dogs and their owners to enjoy. Smoky Mountain Animal Care Foundation hosted adoptable pets and gave out information about the needs of the foundation.
“In addition to the two adoption, several of the students learned how they could help by volunteering at the Animal Center, so those contacts were great, too,” said Gray. “We raised about $80, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s hard to raise money on a college campus because students are always broke.”
Joining the team that helped make the event happen this year, in addition to Gray, were Mary Brafford and Anna Marie Glass.
“Anna Marie is a junior, so she will pick up the reins next year,” said Gray. “I’ll definitely come back as an alum -- hopefully with my own pet.”
Gray says they are also looking at different ways to raise more funds during the popular event. “We really appreciate the bands coming out and all the community members. It was fun, and it will continue next year!”