From community outreach events to the classrooms of Magruder Hall, dogs can be found helping out.
The student-teaching room is lined with stainless steel tables, but step into the neurology class on exam day, and you will see students down on the floor with dogs. The dogs aren’t patients, they are ‘teaching assistants’ who work for hugs and treats.
Where does the college get these furry, cooperative teachers? Very often they are the pets of students and faculty, and the ones who crave lots of attention often participate in many different learning activities throughout the college.
Sophie and Pasco are instantly recognizable walking down the hallways of Magruder Hall. Sophie is a tall, regal standard poodle with impeccable grooming. Pasco is a tiny furball. They are well-known in the CCVM, not only in the classroom, but also for their participation in student events, and in a wide-variety of community outreach efforts. They belong to student Eilea Delgadillo.
“They are both old and well-socialized,” says Delgadillo. “I was a groomer before I went to vet school, so they are both very used to frequent handling.”
Sophie and Pasco have had their teeth cleaned by the dentistry class, and provided ultrasound images for veterinarians taking continuing education training. Dozens of elementary school children have used a stethoscope to hear their kindly canine hearts beating at Science Nights, and in programs like How We Role, which introduces kids to veterinary medicine with a goal of diversifying the profession.
Although students are only allowed to bring assistance dogs to school with them, the occasional ‘teaching’ dog is an exception. Student Nikita Neuhaus has an Australian Shepard mix named K-Dog who volunteers at the college regularly. “She has come in for almost every student teaching lesson we have had,” says Neuhaus. “She was the demo dog for physical exams, for body condition scoring, and for neurological exams. She has also very patiently allowed us to draw her blood.” Now that is really going above and beyond, but K-dog gets a lot in return.
“She loves attention. All she wants is for someone to pet her and snuggle her, so having a whole class full of people who do that is like a dream come true, even if it means a little poke.”