Hot dogs, ice cream and furry friends filled the front yard of the Elon Community Church Sept. 18.
Rev. Randy Orwig said the event started as a way to connect students with the Elon and Burlington community. He said he wants students to know they are welcomed and appreciated and believes the dogs have been a great way to spread that message.
“Some years we have had students say, ‘I cry myself to sleep.’ They weren’t sure about things, but they came here and it was very helpful for them, and so we thought that this was a great way. Plus, they aren’t going to come see us — they are going to come see our dogs,” Orwig said. “That way people know we are nice people too, and it's a nice way to introduce ourselves.”
Elon University senior Juliet Stevenson brought her pitbull, Mellie, to her second dog day mixer.
She said she believes there is a divide between Elon students and local residents. But, Stevenson said the mixer gave both her and her dog the opportunity to meet new people.
“I know that there is kind of an us-and-them mindset between the Elon students and the surrounding community and the people that live in Elon and Burlington,” Stevenson said. “This is a way for us to all come together for our love of dogs and music and celebration of all of those things, and it's also a good way to get the word out and get people excited about adopting animals.”
While the mixer is annual, Orwig said there will also be an event in the spring called “Pet A Puppy,” a stress reliever for students during exam time.