Circle K, Sigma Nu, and the SPCA

September 22, 2010
Adam S. Lees '11

We have all seen the ads on television: the ones that drag on ad absurdium with the images of abused dogs and cats with the achingly sad music. Though saddening, it is all too easy to wave away those ads. After all, it's just rich Hollywood stars scolding us for not caring and giving money to the SPCA, right? But what if you saw it for yourself? Would you be willing to help?

On Saturday, September 4, members of Circle K International and SHARC (Sigma Nu Hampden-Sydney Animal Rescue Committee) decided to help. For three hours, over a dozen men drove down the unlined back country road to Meherrin to the Southside SPCA to do a very simple task: walk dogs. However, for those dogs, it may be the only human contact they have besides the SPCA staff. It might be the only walk they will get in a month's time. Think of being confined to a hospital bed when even a phone call or a nurse's visit to get your vitals becomes the brightest highlight of your day. That is what those dogs feel.

The volunteers, representing every class enrolled at the College, ran and walked with the dogs, helped provide trail maintenance, and simply gave the dogs some love - petting, scratching, nuzzling. It works marvels. Take for an example Stella. Stella is (in)famous among the SPCA walkers. She is a pit bull mix with a fireball's worth of energy. Only last summer, she was nigh uncontrollable, suffering all of the symptoms of an animal going, quite literally, insane. Today, she will sit, stay calm, not instantly try to escape from the leash nor drag the person walking her. And if she jumps up, it is only to say hello. The difference in her health is due to dedicated students from HSC and the advisor of both Sigma Nu and SHARC, Dr. Julia Palmer. The director of the Southside SPCA, according to Dr. Palmer, cannot speak highly enough of the benefits that SHARC and Circle K have provided.

Circle K International is the college branch of the Kiwanis Club and is dedicated to service in the community. To get involved, you may contact Osric Forrest, the President, at SHARC is the animal rescue organization on campus, and a rare example of synergy between fraternity service projects and the wider student body. Its president, Chase Grogg, can be reached at and you may also email Dr. Palmer at

The men who participated are, from left to right: Tad Grenga '12, Trevin Charity '13, Adam Lees '11, Osric Forrest '12, Colin Nickerson '13, Jimmy Ward '11, Kyle Foust '12, Chase Baldwin '14, Frederick Antoine '14, Ben Durham '13, and Chase Grogg '14. Four Circle K members who participated, but left early, are not pictured.