You’ve probably seen the commercials. Those deep brown eyes that have cried countless puppy tears, the matted, flea-infested fur begging to be combed and rubbed, and the protruding rib cages, evidence of malnutrition and cruelty.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or ASPCA, is notorious for its heart wrenching commercials that may entice you to run out to your local pet adoption center or hug your own furry best friend a little closer. You may even have an impulse to adopt a puppy, and while some may think this is the sole purpose of the commercials, the Burlington Animal Control & Pet Adoption Center urges you to think twice.

College can be lonely at times, and a little TLC from man’s best friend can be uplifting, but puppies require a high level of care and funds, both of which can run low during the college years.

With these points in mind, Laura Michel, Burlington Police Department’s Animal Services Outreach Coordinator, encourages Elon students to volunteer at the center by walking, brushing and playing with the dogs instead of purchasing one.

Elon Volunteer’s SHARE program, run by sophomores Mary Young and Marissa Wertheimer, is a group that organizes groups of students to help out at the center.

“SHARE hosts an animal awareness week at Elon where we do a lot of fundraising for the shelter,” Wertheimer

said. “In addition, the shelter does a variety of different things like hosting a rabies clinic, going to PetSmart and attending local carnivals to try and spread the word.”

One of the unique aspects of SHARE is the flexibility in volunteering hours. Students are welcome to go to the adoption center whenever they have time in their schedules and do not necessarily have to go with the rest of the SHARE group.

“We have a lot of dedicated members who participate frequently as well as some that just volunteer every now and then, but all types of commitments are welcome because some time volunteering is better than no time,” Wertheimer said.

Depending on the season, the Adoption Center holds anywhere from 100 to 200 animals in its no-kill shelter, where full-time staff and volunteers care for the animals. Contact the center directly or go through the SHARE program if interested in volunteering.