Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Student Organization Spotlight: Companion Animal Club

JoLina Lopez

The Companion Animal Club is an organization open to all students wanting to learn more about the aspects of handling a companion animal. The organization’s president, Faith Snapp, along with the organization’s treasurer, Ashley Moore, explained the organization’s goal of highlighting companion animals.


What does the Companion Animal Club do for students at WT?
Ashley Moore: I feel like it brings together– kind of the division that we have – between large animal and small animal interests within our agricultural and our pre-vet students, along with kind of providing more of an opportunity to explore maybe things outside of the pre-vet world, kind of bring into light more of the companion animal industry, what different opportunities everybody has with industry.

Faith Snapp: I feel like we kind of highlight not only like careers and other opportunities in the companion animal world, but we also kind of celebrate those animals and the impact they have on our lives and the impact they can make on other people. So, it’s pretty cool.


When and where do y’all meet?
FS: We meet on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month, in the [Natural Science Building] in room 101.


How many people are in your organization? Does it kind of fluctuate?
AM: Um, it has been kind of fluctuating; I want to say we have maybe 20 people.

FS: But I think there’s like 30 on our roster, but it kind of fluctuates between semesters since we’re so new.


Why is it important to have an organization like this on campus, especially one like WT?
FS: I feel like WT, when it comes to animals, is very, very livestock-centered, which makes sense; I mean, we’re in like the cattle region of Texas, right? And, you know, there’s a lot of push for that. But I think sometimes there can be like an overlook of the smaller companion animals and the things that you can do with them. So I think that that bridges that gap and allows people to learn about a different side of the animal world here. I also think that the companion animal club is so special because not only do we have people from the ag industry coming in, but we have people from all over campus that are interested in this, you know? They’re like, ‘Oh, my gosh, I have a dog, I want to come see what this is about,’ right? So, it kind of just brings a lot of people together; it’s a very diverse organization, and I think it provides really unique opportunities to students.


Your mission statement says, to provide students with a broad overview of pets, their care, nutrition, reproduction, behavior, health issues, and the various roles of these animals, including their close connection to humans. So why is it important for I guess like that to exist? Why is it important for students to know about Companion Animal Club in that light?
AM: I feel like it’s important just to highlight, you know, our pets and our animals and how much they mean to everybody. Within the last couple of years, everyone’s gotten a pet in some way, shape, or form. And they’ve helped us through everything. They are with us. And I feel like it’s important to kind of appreciate them, learn how to take care of them.

FS: Yeah, and I think to add on to that, a lot of people get pets in college; college is hard. You got to have something to get through, right? And I think too, like we serve kind of as an educational club as well, because we teach people, ‘Hey, if you’re gonna get your first dog, this is what you need to do. This is how you feed them and take care of them.’ And so we kind of advocate for proper animal handling and care as well, which is really nice. So that when people do get a dog in college, they’re prepared for that responsibility.


How can people stay in touch or contact or even get involved with Companion Animal Club?
AM: We are on Instagram; you can follow us at @wtamucompanionanimal and follow us for meeting updates, information, that kind of thing, just to kind of see what we’re about. We are on a BuffLink as well. We are [an official organization] as of last semester. And then feel free to reach out on social media and our email: [email protected].

FS: We also have a bunch of flyers around campus. So, I think our email [is] on there as well. And so those are good ways, or if someone knows that we’re on the officer team, they can always reach out personally too.


When y’all got the organization started, can you speak a little bit about what inspired the founder to start the organization and bring it to WT?
FS: Dr. Newcomer, our adviser, she kind of started the program here, the Companion Animal Program, which is like the classes that you can take to either get your minor as your certificate. I spoke a lot with Dr. Newcomer about, you know, opportunities within that. I remember sitting there because I couldn’t take any of the classes, but I still wanted to be involved in some way. And so me, and my friend Ember met with Dr. Newcomer, and we were like, ‘Hey, we really think that we should start a club for this because it gives students opportunities to be involved, either within the program or even outside of it too.’ And it was just so cool. Like it’s been such a fun journey, watching it grow. Because people hear about it, and they’re like, ‘That seems so cool,’ and we’re like, ‘Come on’, like, you know, we take anybody into the club. So, it was a little slow at first getting it started, but now that we’re established, I feel like so many more people, you know, understand and know who we are.


Is there anything else you’d like to share about your organization?
AM: We have super fun meetings. We just recently had the West Wild Wildlife Center come out. We got to pet a bunch of, learn about exotics. Got to hold a bunch of really cool animals. We had a really cool trainer come out, we learned about the training side of the business. It’s just a lot of fun. There’s a whole lot of different things you can learn about, even if you’re not going into that industry. So, I think it’s just a lot of fun and a lot of good information just for life in general.

FS: Yeah. And we have some socials and community service that we do every semester too. So, like on the flyers and stuff, just letting people know that that’s there, too. And they’re more than welcome to come.


Can y’all speak about some of those socials that you’ve done in the past?
AM: So we’ve had one social so far. Last year, being our first semester, we had an end-of-year Christmas-themed social just to kind of get ready, chill out before finals, that kind of thing. I think we had a pretty decent turnout. We had a good bunch of people. We had hot chocolate, we decorated cookies, did gingerbread houses, coloring. Just really hung out for about an hour and a half or so. And we had a lot of fun.


Do y’all have any plans for the future?
AM: I think we’re hoping to continue on with volunteering at the Amarillo SPCA. Hopefully, we’re gonna get in with the Wild West Center as well to help kind of get their new education center set up.

FS: I think along with that, at the end of this semester, we’re going to do another social. And I think we’re going to do, like, maybe we haven’t really decided yet. But I think it’s going to be like a dinner, kind of a hang-out, so we’re really looking forward to that.


What made y’all want to get involved with the Companion Animal Club?
FS: For me, since I have a dog with me all the time, I’ve always been really passionate about companion animals and the impacts they can have on your life. And I grew up with animals, right? And so for me, it was just like, I want to find people that share that same passion and also learn. Because, as much as I came in with, like knowledge-wise, there’s always room for opportunity to learn more. And so, for me, it was just like finding a network and then getting to learn all about the animals that I care about.

AM: I’ve always loved animals; I’ve kind of grown up with animals, smaller animals. I have a dog in college. So that’s kind of my first alone- myself taking care of an animal. And I really appreciated the emphasis on, how to take care of an animal by yourself-type of a thing about [the organization]. I just kind of found [Companion Animal Club] at the org rally last semester. So I was like, you know, ‘Why not try it?,’ and I tried it and it’s been a lot of fun. I really appreciate it and it’s opened my eyes to a lot of opportunities.


Why is it important for students to kind of have someone there, even though it’s not like a human, it’s a pet. Why are they drawn to getting a dog or getting a cat?
FS: I think that sometimes the transition to college can be really overwhelming, and sometimes lonely. Because not only is the school part of college hard, but the social part is hard. And so, I feel like to have something constant in their life, to bring them joy all the time. Because you know, your dog is never going to be mad at you, or they don’t do anything wrong. And so, I think just having something that gives them joy every day; I think that’s really important.

AM: I agree. I am six hours away from home, six plus hours away from both homes. So, having a dog the last couple of years has been really refreshing. And it’s nice to have that one thing with you to always like… Dogs and cats, any companion animal, is so like, loyal to you. And they’re so responsive to how you feel. So, like, if you’re down, they are always just there and it’s really comforting. And I think that’s nice to have while you’re in college and away from home.


What is Companion Animal Club doing now to try and get their name out there and make sure that everyone knows that it’s an organization on campus?
FS: There’s a number of things we’ve been trying to do. So, we make fliers for our meetings. We also have fliers that highlight every meeting we’re doing this semester, just so people can find them and look. We have our social media page that we post on all the time; we send out emails. And I think beyond that, it’s mostly just us talking about it. Writing it on the whiteboards in the ag building, like when our meetings are and stuff. I know we have some plans to maybe table in the JBK for our club.

AM: We’ve been trying to get out on the Buff Bulletin and online calendar as well.

FS: We are just recruiting everyone we can.

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About the Contributor
JoLina Lopez
JoLina Lopez, Social Media Engagement Coordinator, Associate Editor-in-Chief
Hello! My name is JoLina Lopez. I am a senior Digital Journalism major from Abernathy, TX. I officially started working for The Prairie News in August 2023 but I have been in and out of the newsroom since my freshman year of college! I serve as the Social Media Engagement Coordinator and I specialize in making graphics, short-form content, and writing stories. As for my future goals, I hope to pursue a Master’s in Media Communication so I can teach future digital media students! Working for TPN, I am very fortunate to collaborate with a team that allows me to express my creative self. Keep up with The Prairie News for content for students, by students!

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