By Fraser Porteous
University of Strathclyde
When I was applying for my internship here in St Louis, I discovered Monsanto’s “Grow St Louis” campaign. This initiative allows local non-profit organizations to compete for the chance of winning $15,000 from Monsanto. How does it work? Well, local non-profits are nominated by the public, and then people vote for their favorite. From there, the organization with the most votes at the end of the time-frame wins the cash award. This year, nominations can be placed from July 9 through July 27, with voting scheduled August 13 through August 26.
So let me tell you a little about myself. Back in Glasgow, I come from a family of five. I have two sisters- one elder and one younger. Over the years, my sisters and I have always had exposure to animals and, as far as I can remember, we haven’t lived for more than a single year without the presence of a dog in our family. Ten months ago, we welcomed a new addition in the form of a chocolate Labrador puppy named Robbie.
People say that it’s a dog’s mission to serve and, from what I’ve seen, I would agree. This is why I fail to comprehend how the thought of mistreating a loyal and defenseless animal can even enter a human’s mind. As I mentioned earlier, I found the “Grow St Louis” campaign when I was applying for my internship here, and there was one particular non-profit that attracted my attention.
Stray Rescue of St Louis was founded in 1998 and aims to rescue abandoned and abused animals, giving them a second chance at life. Presently, the shelter is home to more than 300 animals waiting to be adopted, and operates with the strong support of more than 200 volunteers. I decided that, outside of working regular hours at Monsanto, I would take on a volunteering role at the centre this summer.
My work involves providing positive human interaction for the animals and walking them in the evenings. My first visit to the shelter was difficult, as it became clear how big an issue this is in the U.S. The shelter’s animals have been victims to a large range of scenarios. Being abandoned on highways and being chained to railings when their owners move away are two examples, but these are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the shocking levels of animal cruelty that the center bears witness to.
The most remarkable thing about these dogs, however, is their love for humans. The welcome you receive from them each time you visit the shelter is overwhelming. Although only being one-week into my volunteer position, it’s clear to see that the volunteers have developed favorite dogs. There’s nothing better than walking through a room full of loud, barking dogs than turning to find one sitting silently waiting for you. That’s what happened to me on my first visit to the shelter, and the dog in question is named Gordy.
If you’re reading this blog from the St Louis area, I strongly recommend this center to you. If you’d like to find out more information about Gordy or the other animals that the Stray Rescue of St Louis has available for adoption, please visit the center’s website: http://strayrescue.org/, or contact them by phone on (314) 771-6121. The website also has information regarding volunteering.
If you know of a local St Louis non-profit organization that would benefit from being involved in the “Grow St Louis” contest, you can vote for them now via Monsanto’s website: http://www.monsanto.com/stlouis/Pages/GrowSTLContest.aspx.
To me, this campaign is just another example of how Monsanto works to benefit both the local and global community, and I feel privileged to be working here this summer.
Fraser is interning this summer at Monsanto through a program hosted by the Saltire Foundation.