Profile: Bruin Animal Rescue Coalition Members Liesel Davis and Jennifer Phung

Whether you're #teampuppy or #teamkitty, everyone can agree that our furry friends melt our hearts with their cuteness. But when it comes ot shelter pets, so many of them still need loving homes and quality care. That's where Liesel and Jennifer come in. Her Campus had the chance to interview Liesel Davis and Jennifer Phung of Bruin Animal Rescue Coalition and talk about how we can make a difference in a shelter pet's life.     

Her Campus: Could you state your major, graduation year and involvement at UCLA?

Liesel Davis: I am an Ecology major graduating this Spring (eek!). In addition to BARC, I work with Residential Life on UCLA’s Programming Board, conduct research in an animal behavior lab with mice and pigeons, and am searching for the perfect plate of pad thai in Los Angeles.

Jennifer Phung: I am a senior, majornig in Psychobiology and minoring in Disability Studies. (PHEW!) Outside of BARC, I also serve as China Care Bruin's LIttles Mentorship Director and Yukai Daiko's (Japanese Drumming) Finance Director. Additionally, I participate as a general members in the Vietnamese Community Health, Saving Hearts Foundation, Physician Assistant Club, and Flying Samaritans. Outside of campus, I serve as a Clinic Assistant at Venice Family Clinic and the Head "veteran" Volunteer at KidAbilities. In my freetime, I enjoy eating, showering and sleeping.

HC: What is the Bruin Animal Rescue Coalition? What made you want to be a part of BARC?

J&L: BARC stands for Bruin Animal Rescue Coalition. We are a group of students committed to approving the lives of shelters animals, educating the public on these issues, and promoting animal welfare. BARC is truly a unique club at UCLA as students are able to work hands-on with local shelter animals at weekly sites. This organization also connects students of all majors, backgrounds, and interests, allowing them to meet others with a similar love for animals. And to be honest, sometimes there’s nothing better than spending a Sunday off campus playing with a family of kittens.


HC: What are some of the misconceptions about shelter animals? How many animals in LA Shelters are facing euthanasia? What do you thnk the reasons are for the large amount of animals in shelters? 

J&L: Shelter animals, while often coming from difficult backgrounds, are still animals. They have individual personalities, quirks, and a desire to be loved like any other purebred you could find at a petstore. Thousands of animals are currently in shelters facing either a life behind bars or euthanasia. These animals were not responsible for for how they were previously treated and all deserve a chance.

HC: Why are no kill shelters so important and what exactly are they? What are some of the concerns facing animal shelters today?

J&L: No-kill shelters are animal shelters with a life save rate of 90%, making the term “no-kill” a bit misleading. In 2017, Los Angeles shelters were at a 92.4% life save rate for dogs and 81.3% for cats. While Los Angeles taking the step to achieve No-Kill status is a major step for animal welfare, there is still a long way to go until that rate reaches 100%. It also needs to be mentioned that these percentages are individual dogs and cats, each of whose lives are invaluable.

HC: Favorite shelter pet you've saved/met/adopted? 

J&L: All of the animals have their own unique personality, which really humanizes them. I have met several cats and dogs at the shelters that I really just wanted to take home, because of their loving heart, playful nature and sense of intelligence. One cat in particular, I have seen a few consecutive weeks at the shelters that I was incredibly close to taking home, had it not been for the strict apartment rules on campus. He was so gentle, friendly, sassy, yet so calm. His physical disability in his right eye matched mine and it was almost as if we were kindred spirits. His cautious approach to things and shy-nature stood out from some of the other rambunctious, loveable cats. After a short time, we were fast friends, almost inseparable.

HC: How can people get involved in the Bruin Rescue Coalition? How many members do you have currently in the organization?  

J&L: We are always accepting new members and volunteers! Anyone who is interested can attend out biweekly meetings or check out our website to learn more. We currently have about 40 active volunteers, but we always can use more help.

HC: What are some of the upcoming events that you have planned and how can people help? 

J&L: We have weekly volunteer sites, general meetings with information about volunteering, opportunities for members to be involved, mentorship, and more, as well as fun socials such as ice blocking, Bob Ross Paint night, movie nights and so on!

HC: You're both graduating seniors! How do you plan to change the world?

LD: I'm moving to Costa Rica after I graduate to work at a wildlife rehabilition center and to improve my Spanish! 

JP: I am hoping to get into a Physician Assistant program in California or Arizona and in the meantime, get my phlebotomy license. 

HC: Now that it's almost time to say goodbye to UCLA, what type of legacy do you want to leave?  

LD:  Among the 40,000-something student body at UCLA, I hope that BARC will continue to work to improve animal welfare in Los Angeles. As an Ecology major living in Los Angeles who cares deeply about environmental conservation, I would love to show that each one of us has the potential to create change.

JP:  hope that people cherish the memories made at events that I had the honor to contribute to. I hope  that I have had a positive impact on all those who I have had the pleasure to interact with through the craziness that is this school.

Liesel and Jennifer- we will miss you both but we're so excited to see what fantastic things you do in the future.

Congratuations on graduating and Go Class of 2019!

XOXO, Her Campus