Vet students decorate, donate dog houses

Third year veterinary students Ethan Sutherland and Veronica Kiely take a close look at dog houses painted by MSU College of Veterinary Medicine students for the Oktibbeha County Humane Society. (Photo by Sarah Raines, SDN)
Staff Writer

Several Mississippi State University veterinary students recently participated in a project geared toward relieving the stress of school while helping out the Oktibbeha County Humane Society.

Nestlé Purina Petcare Company donated 15 dog houses to students of MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine to be assembled and distributed.

Third year veterinary student Veronica Kiely, a Purina student representative, was involved in deciding what to do with the dog houses.

“We had a painting event to make it fun and just kind of a stress reliever for the vet students,” Kiely said. “There were prizes for the most creative dog houses, which were judged by faculty members.”

The dog houses were painted by hand by students who worked in teams. Of the 15 dog houses donated, there were 10 judged by faculty members, and the most creative are on display in the front lobby of the Wise Center.

The top three winners were cottage-themed, beach-themed and cabin-themed.

The houses will be on display until the annual alumni weekend, then they will be donated to OCHS and distributed to animals in need. The other dog houses were painted in solid colors and are ready to be picked up by OCHS this week.

“School is super stressful and gets hard and tiring and it’s nice to come out, have food provided for you, have fun and do something for a great cause,” Kiely said. “I really think that it let people just take a break from being so science-based every day and to really get that other side of their creative juices flowing.”

A native of New Jersey, Kiely said it was different for her to come to Mississippi and see how many outside dogs are working dogs, herding cattle and doing tasks for their owners.

“The shelter told me they donate the houses to people in the area who need them,” Kiely said. “People who have outside dogs who are working dogs that need the shelter when it gets colder.”

OCHS Outreach Coordinator Sarah Buckleitner said if the local animal control officer sees an animal chained outside without shelter, they can give one of the dog houses to the family so the animal will be safe.

“It enables us to help keep animals with their families, which is really important to us,” Buckleitner said.

Buckleitner said shelter is essential to an animal’s quality of life. OCHS recommends putting straw in dog houses to help insulate the structure and hold in the animal’s body heat. In the winter, it provides shelter from the cold and the elements, and in the summer it provides a shaded place to rest from the heat.

Buckleitner said there is a possibility OCHS will raffle some of the more decorative dog houses off to raise money for the shelter, but for now the main plan is to give them out where they are needed.