One of my favorite books to read to young children was Millions of Cats by Wanda Ga’g. This classic story told of millions of cats that covered the hillside, hungry, thirsty, each looking for a home, and an elderly couple’s dilemma of which one to take home. For them, one cat or kitten was more beautiful than the next. This is similar to a recent experience for students enrolled in the veterinary technology program at Globe University-Eau Claire.
The students enrolled in the Introduction to Veterinary Technology course recently participated in a service-learning project at Chippewa County Humane Association. The class spent approximately 10 hours over two days doing nail trims, ear cleanings, bathing, brushing, socializing, and in some cases just plain loving more than 50 cats that reside at the shelter.
The future veterinary technicians moved the cats through various stations. Each student had an opportunity to be involved in each station throughout their time at the shelter to get hands-on experience with each of the procedures. Some students had the opportunity to administer shots and give the animals oral medication.
The experience resulted in a win-win-win situation for all who participated:
- The veterinary technology students gained some great hands-on learning.
- The Chippewa County Humane Association received much-needed help in caring for the animals at the shelter.
- The cats received health benefits and some extra love and attention. The cats also received the additional “prrrrr” of looking more presentable for adoption!
The students were excited about the opportunity to apply their newly learned skills.
Guy Svehlek-Giarrusso, a veterinary technology student, said, “If we did this alone we would probably just clean kennels, but because our instructor was there we could also ask questions and get guidance. It was a lot more than a volunteering experience; we were really able to learn.”
It was obvious that the vet tech students grew in their passion as well as their education from the experience. When asked what else they would want others to know about the project, student Trevon Moore wants others to know, “It’s part of our jobs as vet techs to be client educators. We need to let pet owners know what is normal pet behavior and to help them find that out before they adopt a type of pet to avoid surrendering the pet.”
Tamara Lyons added that spring is the busiest time for an abundance of animals, so there is an increased need for supplies. Other students wanted readers to know the importance of having your pets neutered to reduce the high euthanasia rates for animals in shelters. The students are concerned that shelters are understaffed and under-supplied. Please check with your favorite shelter website to make donations of food and supplies.