Vets in Training

Guest blog from Kathleen McCaughey

A lot of youth that we meet know exactly what they want to do when they’re older. They want to be veterinarians.

But how can they get started? How can they be sure that working with animals is the right path for them? Enter Vets in Training at the Humane Society of Kitchener Waterloo and Stratford Perth.

Vets in Training is a completely unique 3-tier veterinary education program that began in 2015. Since then, we have educated over 300 students on what it’s like to work in the veterinary field. Through practical workshops with veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and other experts in animal fields, our students develop their passion and step into the amazing world of animal medicine.

Our students love to learn, and our staff love to teach them. Dr. Sarah Thompson, who teaches in our Kitchener location, says that her favourite thing about the program is sharing her “love for veterinary medicine with youth who are actively engaged, open to learning in different ways, and ask questions”.

Some graduates have gone on to volunteer with animal organizations (KWSPHS included), or even work in veterinary clinics. These programs have given them some amazing practical experience, and can propel them into a career with animals. 

Vets in Training is split into three different classes.

  1. Vets in Training is for children ages 7 to 10 years old. This class is an introduction to the field, and includes topics like how to safely meet an animal, learning about animal behaviour and communication, learning about the importance of animal enrichment and making some enrichment toys, Teddy Bear Surgery, and more. This class is active with games, activities, and learning.
  2. Vets in Training is our second tier, and is for ages 10 to 14 years old. Students in this class get a little more in-depth learning with topics that include reading X-Rays, breed specific conditions, solving veterinary cases, performing physical exams on dogs, learning the basic knots for surgery, and more.
  3. Our last class is our Vets in Training, which is for ages 14+. In this class, students get a detailed and hands-on look at what it’s like to become a vet. There are talks from current veterinary students and nutrition experts, lessons on parasites, performing physical exams on dogs, cats, and small animals, learning how to insert a catheter (not on a real animal, of course!) and learning to suture.

This trio of courses offer the youth in our communities a rare opportunity to develop their interest in animal welfare in a fun and positive environment, where they can try things, ask questions from real experts, and be with other like-minded peers; an experience that isn’t available anywhere else, and an experience that our veterinarians would have loved to participate in when they were finding their way to vet med.
We run these programs approximately twice per year in both our Kitchener and Stratford locations, and we would love to meet you at our next session.

 Visit our website to learn more.

Kathleen McCaughey, Manager, Community Programs