Vet Tech Students Raise $1,200 for Wisconsin Vest-a-Dog

It started with one student’s vision and the desire to help animals. When veterinary technology student Matt Pharo approached his program chair about coordinating a pet adoption fair, he didn’t know what he was getting himself into. After months of planning, he is glad he shared and executed his vision.

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Children enjoyed the Puppy Love Rescue room, with over 15 puppies to enjoy

Matt’s dream was to help area rescue organizations find homes for the animals they work with and bring awareness to animal adoption. Matt ended up doing so much more than that. His vision turned into reality through ‘Adopt Around the Globe’, a pet adoption fair and fundraiser held at Globe University–Madison East.

Five area animal rescues attended the fair showcasing animals in need of new homes. The animal rescues included Golden Retriever Rescue of Wis., Dane County Friends of Ferals, Puppy Love Rescue, Little Orphan’s Animal Rescue, and Darling Pet Rescue. The Madison Area Herpetological Society also attended the event, bringing along snakes and lizards to help educate the public about amphibians and reptiles as pets.


The event didn’t stop there. It also served as a fundraiser for Wisconsin Vest-a-Dog, an organization that helps provide bullet and stab-proof vests for police dogs throughout Wisconsin. These vests are expensive, usually costing around $1,000. The monetary goal of the event was to raise enough money to purchase a vest for Ripp, a K-9 from the Milwaukee County House of Corrections. With the help of several students in the veterinary technology program at Globe, there was a silent auction to help bring in funds as well as donation buckets throughout the event for attendees to donate to the cause.

Three officers from the Milwaukee County House of Correction K-9 Unit attended the event with their K-9s, including K-9 Ripp. A Madison Police officer and his K-9 attended as well. They provided demonstrations on how the police dogs work including narcotics detection, attacking, and some of the common commands.

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All of the officers with their K-9s.

‘Adopt Around the Globe’ was a success bringing in over $1,200, more than Wisconsin Vest-a-Dog needs to purchase a vest for Ripp. Donna Morgan, President of Wisconsin Vest-a-Dog, was pleased with the event saying, “As a team, you all made sure that K-9 Ripp will defend us wearing the protective armor that he deserves!”

Milwaukee County House of Correction K-9 Officer Michael Smith was also appreciative, “Thank you to all the students and staff at Globe University for all their hard work and dedication they put into the fundraiser. Because of their commitment, K-9 Ripp will now have the much needed protection of a ballistic vest. Each and everyone one of you should be exceptionally proud of the work you’ve done. On behalf of the entire Milwaukee County House of Correction K-9 Unit, our collective thanks and appreciation.”

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Vet tech students Sam Sutor, Julia Rodenberg, and Alyssa Hellenbrand near the Madison Area Herpetological Society table.

Not only did Matt and the other vet tech students raise enough to purchase a protective vest for Ripp, but they also helped bring awareness to area rescues and there were even a few pet adoption applications completed that day.

“I am very proud of my students for the hard work they put into this event, especially Matt Pharo, who put his idea into motion,” said Veterinary Technology Program Chair Heather Wipijewski.