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'A very good boy': Puppies help students raise money for daycare


Junior Margo Naragon kisses a puppy at the kissing booth in Dunn Meadow. The Puppy Cafe at Dunn Meadow hosted puppies from Anthony's Pets.  Mallory Smith Buy Photos

Six puppies drew more than one hundred people to Dunn Meadow on Wednesday afternoon.

As part of Medlife at IU’s fundraiser for a daycare in Lima, Peru, students paid $5 to play for an unlimited time with puppies from Anthony’s Pets.

The organization called it a puppy cafe. 

Emily Miles

“Spending the afternoon playing with dogs is something you shouldn’t pass up,” junior Xavier Martinez said. 

Medlife is an international nonprofit organization whose name is an acronym for Medicine, Education and Development for Low-Income Families Everywhere.

With bases in Latin America and Africa, its international chapters raise money and organize mission trips to help low-income families access the three principles in the organization's title. 

Medlife at IU president and senior Keaton Wieschhaus said the Puppy Cafe Medlife had last spring raised $1,100 for a family whose home was ravaged by an earthquake in Ecuador.

“Compared to something like IUDM, that’s nothing,” Wieschhaus said. “But for us that was a lot of money.”

This is Medlife's third year on campus. 

Starting with $600 in donations before the event began, Wieschhaus said he expected to raise even more money this year. 

“We decided everyone loves puppies,” Wieschhaus said. 

Tony Taboas, owner of Anthony’s Pets, said he often brings the puppies to fraternity and sorority philanthropy events, independent fundraisers such as the puppy cafe, and destressing activities during finals week. 

As an IU alum, Taboas said he remembers playing with puppies himself during study breaks. 

“I spent two years in Wright Quad, getting my puppy fix,” Taboas said. 

The puppies in his store don't yet have names because they are for sale. Here are some of the puppies that not only help students relax, but raise money for philanthropic causes. 

The terrier

A 3-month-old terrier looks out of a gate in Dunn Meadow. According to Tony Taboas, the owner of Anthony's Pets, the terrier runs and plays nonstop. Mallory Smith Buy Photos

Taboas said terrier comes from “terra,” meaning dog of the Earth, but he likes to joke the name comes from “terror" — meaning to run and play nonstop. 

The 3-month-old, black-and-white spotted puppy ran and played while students crowded into and around his pen.

After making two or three rounds among the puppy pens, Martinez said the terrier was his favorite. 

Martinez said the puppy was playful, but calm when held.

“It’s like the best of both worlds,” Martinez said. 

After one hour with the puppies, Martinez said he still didn’t know much about the fundraiser’s cause. He came purely to play with puppies. 

The puggles

Two 4-month-old puggles play in a playpen in Dunn Meadow. According to Tony Taboas, the owner of Anthony's Pets, the puggles are great for playing for a short while, but they don't have the endurance to play for long.  Mallory Smith Buy Photos

Taboas said the puggles, born on Dec. 2 and Dec. 6, 2017, are good for shorter durations. Because of their low endurances, they came later in the afternoon to replace a beagle.

Though sometimes they played together in their pen, at other times the small brown puggles split their duties between the pen and a puppy kissing booth. 

Freshman Andres Ayala said the puppy in the pen was more cooperative than others. He didn’t squirm when Ayala held him. 

“He was just a very good boy,” Ayala said. 

Ayala said he didn’t know exactly what the fundraiser was, but he knew his $5 was going toward a good cause. He played with the puppies for almost an hour as a midweek break from studying. 

“It’s relaxing after weeks of late nights and projects and homework,” Ayala said. 

Freshman Rachel Michelsen clutched the second puggle tightly in her arms as her friends closed in for Snapchat pictures. Michelsen said the squeaking puppy was very lovable.

The huskies

A 10-week-old husky sits in a playpen while another 10-week-old husky drinks from a water bowl. According to Tony Taboas, the owner of Anthony's Pets, they are super smart, active and never stop moving.  Mallory Smith Buy Photos

The 10-week-old huskies jumped and tried to climb over the fences of their pens as students tried to calm them down. 

Taboas said huskies typically never stop moving. 

“They’re super smart,” Taboas said. “Super active.”

Freshman Kayla O’Malley, a Medlife member, said she gravitated toward the huskies because they were cute and soft. 

Though she realized the puppies were unrelated to the fundraiser’s cause, O’Malley said her personal experience on a Medlife trip to Ecuador during spring break heightened her motivation to advertise the event. 

“It was one of the most eye-opening experiences I’ve had,” O’Malley said. 

Even though the families she worked with were poor and impoverished, O’Malley said they were still content with what they had. 

She said seeing firsthand how Medlife can make a difference gave her work with the club more meaning, and she posted about the fundraiser in all of her group messages.

“It’s impossible to forget,” O’Malley said. 

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