It’s not that uncommon for veterinary students to help out at their local animal shelter, trading their time and skills for hands-on learning experiences. But typically the time they spend is as interns or assisting the vet staff, practicing drawing blood, handling animals, and other medicine-related tasks. However veterinary students at the University of Florida in Gainesville took their mission to help animals to another level!

Sophomore veterinary student Lauren Gray was at the Alachua County shelter almost daily last summer. As she collected blood samples from cats for the research project, she realized the overcrowding was resolved by euthanasia. “It was heartbreaking to see a cat one day and not see him the next,” Gray says.

When Levy learned that healthy, adoptable animals were meeting this fate due to a lack of space and lack of adopters, she turned to Lauren Unger, a third-year veterinary student and president of the shelter medicine club. Levy proposed that Unger consider leading an adopt-a-thon, with the goal of finding homes for the animals. “I wasn’t sure it was feasible,” Unger says. “It wasn’t the best time of year because many students had already left for the summer.” After thinking it over, Unger accepted the challenge. She encouraged club members, saying, “At least we can try.”

You can find out what happened next by reading the rest of their story that was published in the Rally To Rescue magazine by clicking here.