K9s at the Ville, a student volunteer organization, is putting on Pupperoni Night, an event this Wednesday, Nov. 16, to fundraise and raise awareness for 4 Paws for Ability, a service dog organization based in Xenia.
Pupperoni Night is a pasta dinner with puppies and a service dog demonstration. Emily Sulka, media coordinator for K9s, said the event will include food from Olive Garden and Fazoli’s as well as a chance to hear from a family who has received a service dog.
“Pasta! And dogs! And prizes!” Sulka said.
Pupperoni Night will take place in the Center for Biblical and Theological Studies (BTS) youth room from 6-8 p.m. Tickets cost $8 and are being sold in the Stevens Student Center (SSC) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.
The event will raise money to sponsor a specific family so that they can receive a service dog from 4 Paws, Sulka explained. This organization trains service dogs primarily for children and veterans.
“Generally, people who can’t get them from other place,” Sulka said.
The founder of 4 Paws was deemed too far gone to profit from a service dog herself, so she started her own service dog business to help those in a similar situation, Sulka said.
Nathan Overlock, volunteer coordinator, vice president and media coordinator for K9s at the Ville, said that the children who receive dogs from 4 Paws often have severe disabilities.
“Some of these dogs go to children with autism who are just unresponsive until they get this dog that act as a social bridge for them,” Overlock said. “Other ones have more physical issues; they’ll get mobility dogs to help them around, to help them with daily life.”
The current fee for a service dog is $1,700. Overlock explained that buying a ticket for Pupperoni Night will go towards that cost.
“By coming to an event like Pupperoni night, you can be a small part of that by supporting 4 Paws and playing a small role in helping these families get their service dogs,” Overlock said.
K9s at the Ville is helping out with the 4 Paws organization in more than just this single event. Certain members of K9s also act as handlers for service dogs in training on campus. Overlock said that having the dogs on campus allows them to get used to people and different circumstances.
“So that when they get placed with a child with a disability, they can basically be rockstars,” he said. “not surprised by anything so that they can focus totally on their children.”
Volunteers at K9s said they joined the organization because they enjoy dogs, but also because they enjoy being part of an organization that can help change someone else’s life.
“[Service dog owners] wouldn’t be able to live nearly as smoothly as they can with the dogs,” Sulka said. “Being able to impact that is really awesome.”
Sulka said she hopes that people will come out to Pupperoni Night and learn more about the organization.
“A lot of people see the org as ‘Oh, you see dogs on campus, that’s not fair,’” she said. “It’s important to see what we’re working towards and why we have the dogs on campus, because it’s really to help the families eventually.”
Pupperoni Night is not the only event K9s will put on this semester. One such event is Pause for Paws, which includes visiting puppies from 1 to 3 p.m. during finals week in the lower SSC. K9s will also have a partnership with the Cove to put on an event featuring dogs, snacks and Christmasy things. More details about that event are coming soon.
Rebekah Erway is a junior journalism major and campus news editor for Cedars. She is a diehard Disney, Veggietales and Lord of the Rings fan and enjoys speaking in a British accent.