Animal funds

Elon University senior will participate in the triathlon and raise funds for Burlington Animal Services

When Elon’s senior Maria Torres Monteverde completed her first triathlon, she said she crossed the finish line overwhelmed with pride – a feeling that motivated her not only to compete again, but also to collect funds for a cause close to his heart.

“It was great to do, but I want to do something bigger than that,” said Torres Monteverde. “I love Burlington Animal Services so much. I know there are so many other shelters that need help as well, but I think Burlington just stands out.

Torres Monteverde will raise funds and awareness Burlington Animal Services while participating in the White Lake Fall International and Sprint in White Lake, North Carolina, September 11th. Torres Monteverde will swim 750 meters, cycle 14 miles and run a 5k race.

Torres Monteverde, an international student from Spain, declared her passion for pet adoption and research center emerged at the start of her sophomore year — a time she spent seeking community off campus as the number of COVID-19 cases surged in Elon.

“I remember saying to my boyfriend, ‘I think I need an emotional support animal,'” Torres Monteverde said. “Someone impartial, someone I can go to, cry and hug.”

She said while a dog seemed like too much work to handle as a student, she wanted to try a cat. The search brought her to Burlington Animal Services, an experience she is grateful for.

“I started volunteering with them when I heard the amount of work they needed and the number of volunteers,” said Torres Monteverde. “They get animals every day, whether it’s kittens, strays, feral cats – they find puppies behind Walmart, which is devastating. But luckily, a lot of people end up adopting and adopting. I started going there. There are so many animals here in cages that could benefit from being in a home.

Miranda Ferrante | Elon News Network

Elon senior Maria Torres Monteverde stands next to the Burlington Animal Services sign after volunteering at the shelter on August 22.

Burlington Animal Services will provide a tent for Torres Monteverde and her two friends, junior Emma Leonard and senior Maddy Murdock, to use for fundraising on the day of the event.

Prior to Sunday’s triathlon, Torres Monteverde’s efforts to raise awareness of the organization and the race were through social media and conversation. Between funds raised beforehand and on the day, she hopes to raise at least $5,000 for Burlington Animal Services. As of September 4, she said she’s raised $1,300 and expects to hit the $5,000 triathlon mark.

Burlington Animal Services director Jessica Arias said she appreciates the effort.

“So grateful Maria chose us to be her fundraiser recipient,” Arias said. “We really rely on community support through volunteer opportunities and donations. It really helps support the animals in our care.

Arias said the shelter’s medical programs benefit from these funds, allowing them to provide required medical procedures for pets before adoption and removing an additional cost to potential owners.

“We so appreciate donations to our medical care fund that directly support shelter animals,” Arias said. “We especially appreciate Elon’s students, they have been invaluable to our agency and to fostering short term pets.”

Leonard met Torres Monteverde through the Alpha Kappa Psi co-ed business fraternity, as Torres Monteverde was his mentor. Leonard remembers going to Torres Monteverde’s apartment and seeing that she had a cat. Before meeting Torres Monteverde, Leonard said she didn’t really know what it was like or like to have a pet on campus. She got involved with the shelter after interacting with Torres Monteverde and because she loves cats.

“I really want to raise money so they can get the help they need, but also raise awareness of Burlington Animal Services,” Leonard said. “I think it was such a positive change in my life, so I want others to recognize how great it could be and how they could help too.”

With support from Leonard and Murdock, the latter of whom called Torres Monteverde “inspirational,” she hopes to make a difference and bring attention to Burlington Animal Services and the work they do.

“I love it so much, it’s one of my hobbies,” said Torres Monteverde. “I’m not a person who likes to go out and party, and I like being outdoors or spending time with animals. It’s just such a blessing to see animals come to the shelter and then to see them. get out there and find them a home. It’s so rewarding.