Pitt County Animal Services launches new Fosters for Finals program

PITT COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) – Many college students are in the swing of or are preparing for finals week. This time of year can be stressful enough with tests, summer plans, and making after-graduation plans. That’s why the Pitt County Animal Shelter has introduced a new program, Fosters for Finals, to bring a little more joy to college students with the help of some furry friends.

Melanie Sartore-Baldwin with the Pitt County Animal Services Mutt Strutters Program says, “Given all the stress and anxiety at the end of the semester, we thought it might be a good idea to maybe alleviate stress on both parts and get some dogs into homes just for one night. You know, you’ve got your little study buddy next to you that you can sit and pet, maybe even take a little break and walk the dog, get some fresh air.”

Pitt County Animal Services says you have to be at least 18 years old and live off campus.

ECU student Courtney Frank has experienced the benefits of the program firsthand.

“Personally, I think exams are extremely stressful. When you have to study for one but then you have a thousand, it’s hard to focus on just one exam. Being able to do the program is very helpful because being able to have a furry friend just being next to you, being able to sit with them, it helps them and it helps us,” says Frank.

The American Heart Association says pets can help reduce work-related stress, increase productivity, manage anxiety, help people be more active, and provide a sense of togetherness.

Sartore-Baldwin says it’s not just two-legged friends that reap the benefits.

“Being cooped up in the shelter environment is incredibly stressful. It’s a foreign environment, it’s loud, it smells funny, it’s unfamiliar people, and there’s an energy that just kind of builds. Many times, they express that kind of energy is in ways that tend to be identified as unattractive but once you get them out of the shelter environment, those behaviors tend to disappear,” says Sartore-Baldwin.

The program started last Wednesday, April 24th, and will end this Saturday, May 4th just in time for ECU’s spring graduation.

If you’d like to shelter a pup for finals or even during the summer, Sartore-Baldwin says the foster visit doesn’t have to be overnight. You can even go by the shelter to walk dogs and get involved in their Mutt Strutter program.

For more information, you can call the Pitt County Animal Shelter at (252)-902-1725 or visit their website.