Duquesne helps pets through Paws on the Bluff

Sairah Aslam


In the case of the new campus initiative, Paws on the Bluff, curiosity will not kill the cat; rather, it will help said cat(s), dogs, rabbits and other pets continue to enjoy their lives in the care of families with limited finances but boundless affection for their furry feathered or scaly compatriots.

Dr. Seth Beckman, dean of the Mary Pappert School of Music and a board member of the nonprofit organization Animal Friends, decided to help disadvantaged pet owners care for their faithful fauna by launching Paws on the Bluff.

To explain his motivation to begin the program, he said, “Some families in the city are in dire straits: They must choose between feeding themselves and giving up their pet to the shelters, which are already overflowing, or feed their pets and go hungry. Helping them is our mission.”

Paws on the Bluff is partnering with Animal Friends to help feed such pets, and now the Duquesne community can contribute to the cause in a variety of ways.

First, the kickoff to the campaign took place in the form of the Katie Westbrook 5k and Dog Race on Sept. 23. Also on that weekend, Dean Beckman and several other Paws on the Bluff committee members made an appearance at the Service Sunday event, during which students had the opportunity to make pet toys and donate them to the campaign.

“It is very important to involve students, staff, faculty and alumni,” Dean Beckman said. “We’ve reached across campus to find people passionate about the initiative, and we [easily] found people interested in helping animals and getting involved with the community.”

In the spirit of community involvement, the organizers of Paws on the Bluff decided to waive the admission fee to a jazz concert held on Sept. 27, asking instead for a donation in the form of a pet toy or pet food.

Convenience is an important component when working toward the success of Paws on the Bluff, seeing as students are not allowed to keep pets on campus and therefore would not have any spare pet food or toys on hand to donate.

“I doubt most people would go out of their way and buy supplies to donate,” said one junior student in the business school.

Many other students agreed with this opinion. Fatimah Hill, for example, a freshman double-majoring in computer science and modern languages, said, “I like pets, I guess…I just don’t have the time to go out and buy stuff for them.”

Recognizing the importance of convenience, the Paws on the Bluff organizers have arranged for the placement of donation bins in almost a dozen campus locations. As if that was not enough, an online donation portal has been made available on the campaign’s website.

To support the cause, visit http://duq.edu/academics/schools/music/paws-on-the-bluff. The program wraps up tpday, Sept. 30.