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Beyond Animal Rights Club lends a helping hand

Juniors+Alli+Dipietro+%28left%29+and+Ashya+Singh+%28right%29+volunteering+at+Great+Dog+Rescue
Juniors Alli Dipietro (left) and Ashya Singh (right) volunteering at Great Dog Rescue

Juniors Alli Dipietro (left) and Ashya Singh (right) volunteering at Great Dog Rescue

Juniors Alli Dipietro (left) and Ashya Singh (right) volunteering at Great Dog Rescue

Chloe Morbelli, Staff Writer

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Calling all animal lovers – WA’s newest club, Beyond Animal Rights Club (B. A. R. C.), gives students an excuse to play with canines while also giving back to the community. With a goal of making a difference in animal shelters, Westford Academy juniors Alli Dipietro and Ashya Singh made B.A.R.C. a reality in December of 2016. Every other Thursday, students from all grades are invited to volunteer at Great Dog Rescue in Woburn and dedicate some time to pups in need.

The club stemmed from connections and a desire to give back. Dipietro’s family was already a Great Dog foster family, which opened up opportunities for volunteering. Dipietro described that the animal shelters in Massachusetts are selective with their volunteers, and thanks to her family ties, B.A.R.C. was able to become one of them.

“We wanted the volunteer slots to be open to everyone. The kennel director is great – she trusts me, so we are able to bring in whoever wants to come,” Dipietro said.

The idea for a club to reach out to animals in need was developed in November and became official in December. Singh and Dipietro described the process of starting a club to be simpler than perceived. They attributed some of their success to their club advisor, Kathy Paquette who they described as very supportive and involved.

Upon the club’s first meeting, there was a surprising amount of student interest. Starting in the middle of the school year, Singh and Dipietro were skeptical of the amount of turn out they would receive.

“At our first meeting we were hoping for ten people, and we got eighteen, which was awesome[…] it just kept growing,” Dipietro said.

Since the club’s commencement, B.A.R.C. has students from all grades wanting to join, keying in on the junior class. Most members are friends who have heard about the new club by word of mouth, but Dipietro and Singh explained that they often receive text messages or emails of new students looking to take part.

At Great Dog Rescue, volunteers have a responsibility to complete the daily tasks of a dog owner. Volunteers are truly able to form a connection with the pups by playing and taking care of them during each visit.

“You walk the dogs, you clean their kennels, you help with the puppies, you give them mats[…] it’s a lot of work but it’s definitely rewarding,” Singh said.

Social media has been an outlet for the club’s growth. With their instagram page, @wa_barc, the club shares photos of their experiences helping out with furry friends. The page’s followers have a sneak peak into how open B.A.R.C. is to the students of WA.

Through dedicating some time to this club, students can earn some community service hours. B.A.R.C. provides benefit for not only the animals in need but also the students.

Dipietro and Singh hope to one day spread their horizons past Great Dog Rescue and move to larger shelters with a variety of animals. Until then, they will keep volunteering their time to the dogs of this shelter.

“[It] is really rewarding for us. [The dogs] are finding great homes, and it makes us smile everyday,” Dipietro said.

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Beyond Animal Rights Club lends a helping hand