Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — Bay Path College history professor Bob Surbrug takes a photo of Kiara Pichardo holding one of the dogs at the Adams County Humane Society on Friday. Surbrug teaches “The Mississippi River and American Culture,” which focuses on cities along the Mississippi River. The students were spending one night in Natchez before continuing to New Orleans on a trip for the class. In Natchez, the group walked dogs and in New Orleans they worked with Habitat for Humanity.
Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — Bay Path College history professor Bob Surbrug takes a photo of Kiara Pichardo holding one of the dogs at the Adams County Humane Society on Friday. Surbrug teaches “The Mississippi River and American Culture,” which focuses on cities along the Mississippi River. The students were spending one night in Natchez before continuing to New Orleans on a trip for the class. In Natchez, the group walked dogs and in New Orleans they worked with Habitat for Humanity.

Through the Viewfinder: Making ‘furry’ friends

Published 12:04am Tuesday, January 14, 2014

NATCHEZ — At the Natchez-Adams County Humane Society on Friday, 15 students from Bay Path College in Longmeadow, Mass., set to work walking excited dogs and playing with many puppies.

The group of students visited the humane society as part of their trip through St. Louis, Memphis, Natchez and New Orleans for a history lesson about the Mississippi River and how it shaped the region’s music, culture, industry and food.

Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — Bay Path College students look out at the Mississippi River from the bluff on Friday.
Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — Bay Path College students look out at the Mississippi River from the bluff on Friday.

“It’s a great combination of academia and community service,” assistant director of student activities at Bay Path College and trip organizer Michelle Mirti said as she snapped photos of students.

“Zack (the dog) is giving me a workout,” Bay Path College senior, Chadsey Gray said. “But it’s nice to get out and work with the dogs.”

Inside the crowded humane society, students spent time Friday holding puppies.

“We’ve enjoyed the trip,” history professor Bob Surbrug said as he took a photo of Kiara Pichardo with a puppy.

As the puppy falls asleep in Pichardo’s arms, a smile spread across her face.

“Oh I want you to come back to New Jersey with me,” Pichardo said. “He’s under 20 pounds, I think he’d fit in my suitcase.”

Along with volunteering at the humane society, the group also helped work on a Habitat for Humanity home in New Orleans for a family who lost their house during Hurricane Katrina.

“This has been one of my favorite community services projects so far,” Bay Path College senior Kelley Wilbur said. “I really like working with animals.”

Before ending Friday with a dinner at Monmoth Plantation, Surbrug took the class out to the bluff to see the river.

“We first saw the Mississippi when we were in St. Louis, but it wasn’t more than a trickle there,” Surbrug said.

“Natchez will be the first place where they’ll be impressed by the river.”