These students are helping save pets, one foster at a time, through Purple PAWS

Meg Shearer is a volunteer 'fur momma,' meaning she takes care of animals until they can be adopted. (Photo courtesy Meg Shearer)

Love animals, but can’t afford to adopt a dog or cat? Purple Power Animal Welfare Society may have a solution.

Many Kansas State students find that fostering animals through Purple PAWS can be a fulfilling way to enjoy animal companionship and make a difference in the community.

Purple PAWS may be best known to students for its Pet Away Stress event that makes periodic appearances on campus. The group offers students the chance to interact with dogs up for adoption. However, the organization does much more than facilitate on-campus puppy cuddles.

Purple PAWS is a local nonprofit rescue organization whose mission is to save animals that are going to be euthanized in high-kill shelters. The group works to accomplish this by facilitating foster homes for cats and dogs facing imminent euthanasia.

Dayanna Valerio, senior in animal science and industry and cat program director at Purple PAWS, said that fostering a pet can be an affordable way for students to get the rewarding benefits of caring for an animal until a permanent home can be found for it.

“It’s something very feasible, mostly because we provide everything, we provide medical supplies everything that you need, nothing should ever come out of your pocket, ever,” Valerio said. “That also includes damage to your home. There really should be no expense except offering your home up for the pet.”

Angela Johnson, senior in education, started fostering puppies through Purple PAWS earlier this year. Caring for puppies can be challenging, but it’s worth it to help them find a home, she said.

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s very rewarding. It’s hard to let them go, but it’s rewarding to see them going to a family that you vet yourself,” Johnson said.

Meg Shearer, junior in advertising, said she not only fosters cats and a dog, but uses her photography skills to help find homes for animals.

“I’ve really been able to use my photography skills with getting them adopted,” Shearer said. “I do like a professional kind of shoot of all of the cats we get in, and that helps tremendously to have good quality photos for people to look at you know, to show their personality.”

For those that cannot offer their home to foster animals, there are still many other ways people help the cause. As a nonprofit, Purple PAWS depends on volunteers to help walk dogs for foster families and maintain the cat condos at PetSmart.

Clinic Coordinator Delaney Keeler, junior in animal science and industry, said she has been volunteering with animal rescue groups since she was 11. Keeler said she donates her time at Purple PAWS helping give sick animals another chance at life by getting them what medicine she can and administering vaccines.

The nonprofit organizes fundraisers in order to help provide for the associated food and medical costs for the animals, including spaying, neutering and microchipping.

Purple PAWS will host a Santa Paws fundraiser at Orscheln Farm & Home in Manhattan from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 1, where anyone is welcome bring in their pets for a photo with Santa Claus for a $10 donation.

For more information on how to get involved with Purple PAWS or adopt an animal, visit or check out their page on Facebook.

My name is Rebecca Vrbas. I’m the culture editor at the Collegian and a junior in journalism and mass communications. My hobbies include obsessing over an ever-expanding pool of musicals and cats (not the musical). I love writing because of the infinite intricacy of language, as well as its power to cultivate a sense of community through sharing experiences.