River Campus Puppy Corrals hope to encourage adoptions at Humane Society
"A Midsummer Night's Dream" at Southeast Missouri State University's River Campus features a new twist on a classic show, including a 1920s jazz theme and an unconventional cast member.
Beatrice the dog will make her stage debut as Dog, one of the mechanicals in the show who performs for the wedding of characters Hippolyta and Theseus. While Beatrice has a home now, she was originally a resident of the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri after being abandoned.
Bart Williams, the director of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and the owner of Beatrice, said her backstory was a common but unfortunate one for this area.
"She was tied to the driveway of someone who worked for the Humane Society and left there," Williams said. "I was able to follow her to St. Louis [where she was transferred] and bring her back to Cape Girardeau."
Beatrice is just one example of the many dogs who enter the Humane Society looking for a home, which is why the River Campus and the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri are teaming up for Puppy Corrals. These are events designed to encourage and facilitate adoptions while raising awareness of the immense need for more adoptions.
The River Campus began the corrals last year, which was also the first year animals were used in River Campus productions.
"We got into it [when] we did 'Of Mice and Men' last year, and we were struggling with outreach to the community," Williams said. "I'm a big dog person, and we thought that in case anyone was traumatized by [the scene with the dog's death], to realize that the dog is not actually shot, we could do puppy corrals with the Humane Society outside the show."
Interested community members can come to the River Campus for "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and view adoptable pets currently being housed at the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri.
"It gives you a chance to see the pets that are available, and then you have to go through [the Humane Society's] application process back at the facility," Williams said. "They just want to make sure that the dog is going to a reliable home and it's not going to end up in the shelter again."
Unfortunately, this is the time of year when drop-offs at the Humane Society tend to increase.
"Every end of the school year, there will be an increase in pets that go to the shelter, so [the Humane Society] is trying to bring awareness to not adopting a pet as a school-year accessory," Williams said.
Tracy Poston, who manages the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri, said that while the puppy corrals provide good exposure for the Humane Society, there are still many animals that don't get adopted as a result.
"As far as adoptions actually go, they don't get us very many adoptions," Poston said.
However, Poston said the corrals do serve as a reminder of the need for animal adoptions in the Southeast Missouri area.
Poston said the organization is always looking for volunteers, and interested individuals can apply on the Humane Society's website at www.semopets.org, or receive more information by calling the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri at (573) 334-5837.
River Campus Puppy Corrals will take place at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 23, and Sunday, April 30, during showings of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Tickets are regularly $18.50 or $3 with a Southeast ID. Contact the River Campus Box Office at (573) 651-2265, or order tickets online at