Kappa-Alpha Chapter at Marietta College: Must Love Dogs

The mud was as thick as molasses, but the steel-toed boots kept sloshing through.  Attached to the boots were the men of the Kappa-Alpha chapter at Marietta College.  For most of that Sunday afternoon, brothers had been attempting to move a 30-foot tree over the fence, but with no luck.

Finally, the entire group of 13 men accomplished the unthinkable, leaving the area with battle scars of mud. Normally, moving a very large tree would not be the first idea of fun for the average college student, so what made this instance any different?

The Marietta brothers do anything they can to help the shelter, including moving trees.

Simple: the Kappa-Alpha brothers’ dedication to the animals of the Sonnywood Animal Rescue and Sanctuary.

Located in the hills of Ohio, the small shelter could be described as modest with big heart.  Started by Keith Thomas, the mission of the shelter is straightforward: take in the stray animals of the area with open arms, in hopes of finding them a loving home, free of charge.

Kappa-Alpha’s High Theta, Will Walther, first heard of Sonnywood when his advisor asked him if the chapter would be interested in helping out the no-kill shelter operating heavily off of the help from volunteers.

To Walther, the shelter has become a project and a cause he is passionate about.  The junior comes from a parks and recreation volunteering background, so he knows the hardship of running a non-profit organization with a big mission.

Walther and his brothers have been hooked on helping the shelter ever since. The members help with everything from moving trees that have fallen on outdoor pens, such as our opening scene, to cleaning out those pens.  Where there is a need, Walther and his chapter are there.

Because of Kappa-Alpha’s assistance, the shelter has seen drastic improvement, not only in operational logistics, but even in Thomas’s health as well. If not for the efforts of the chapter, the shelter would not be where it is today.

“I have huge respect for the founder of this organization [Thomas]; he couldn’t have done this without us,” said Walther.  “He needs our help more than ever…I think it’s really important for us, 18-22 -year-old guys, who can easily do physical labor, to get out and do that kind of work.”

A regular end of a day of service involves lots of play time with the residents of Sonnywood Animal Rescue and Sanctuary.

But the most rewarding part for the men is to see the improvement in the animals’ well-being. After a hard day’s work, it is not an uncommon sight to see a Lambda Chi member rushing after a dog, giving it a much-needed break from shelter life.

“I can see all of the guys having a great time, and at the end of the day, we just go around and play with the dogs,” said a fond Walther.  “That’s my favorite part is to see us all wind down and get the dogs out.”

Since the beginning of the semester, the men of Lambda Chi have been offering their assistance to Sonnywood in any way possible. It is the hope of Walther that the chapter will continue their strong relationship with the shelter and even start to assist with the adoption process.

Though Walther says this organization is not the typical volunteering work Lambda Chi Alpha is known for, he advises all chapters to find a cause brothers can make their own.

“Never be afraid to go out and find new options,” stated Walther.  “With a group of young men, my idea is we should be doing physical labor, because it’s fun and easy, and obviously with the animals, it’s immediately rewarding as well.”

So, Walther and his crew will continue to tackle 30-foot trees for the sake of the shelter and do their small part to help find the love Sonnywood’s animals deserve.