Queen's students give shelter

Students seek to improve lives of animals through adoption and volunteering

At 10 months old, Apollo, a labrador retriever/beagle cross was adopted by Queen’s student Madlyn Axelrod from the Kingston Humane Society.

“I wanted to give a dog who needed a second chance the opportunity to live a happy life,” Axelrod, ArtSci ’11, said. “It was important to me to help a dog in need.”

Axelrod said she was concerned about buying a dog from a pet store because of the risk of supporting puppy mills — breeding operations that mass-produce puppies in substandard conditions.

It also made financial sense to rescue a pet, she said.

Apollo was adopted once before but his previous owners didn’t anticipate the difficulties of owning a pet.

“He was too high-energy for them,” Axelrod said.

Balancing a student lifestyle with caring for a dog is possible if Axelrod’s experience is any indication.

“I like to study at home anyway and I didn’t live far from campus, so I was able to come back in between classes to take him for a walk and to give him some attention,” she said.

During her time at Queen’s, Axelrod lived in the Student Ghetto with two housemates.

“It was definitely an adjustment for my housemates but they were really wonderful and accommodating and opened up to having a dog in the house,” she said. “I took care of Apollo myself — I didn’t ask them to walk him or feed him or anything — but it was still quite an imposition on their space.”

Now three years old, Apollo is unable to join Axelrod at law school residence at New York University.

“I wanted to keep Apollo with me after graduation because he’s become like my best friend,” she said. “I also wanted to be able to find my footing in a new city and new school before committing to having my dog.”

Apollo is living with Axelrod’s family for the time being.

“They’re thrilled to be able to house him for the year. Hopefully next year he’ll be able to join me again,” she said.

For students who can’t commit to fostering pets, the campus club Lost Paws offers an alternative.

Co-Chair Marissa Boccongelle, ArtSci ’12, said students travel to Kingston Humane Society to volunteer.

“We’re hoping to have weekly trips,” she said. “They have rats and gerbils and smaller animals, but it’s more so the dogs and cats we focus on.”

Boccongelle said some students can’t foster animals due to rules set in place by landlords.

“I was looking into fostering animals this summer but my landlord told me I couldn’t,” she said.

According to the Residential Tenancies Act, landlords cannot restrict their tenants from housing pets. The exception to the rule involves exotic animals. They can be legally banned due to health or safety risks.

Landlords may implement a no-pet policy but it’s not legally binding.

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