Tending to pet friends
A few weeks back, Woodburn Pet Hospital veterinarian Beth Nguyen had a unique job shadowing experience, and it proved to be a day of learning.
The pet hospital was paid a visit by Girl Scout Troop 13019 of Woodburn on Friday, Oct. 15, as the members worked on earning requirements for their "Cadette Animal Helpers Badge." The cadette level troop was comprised of 6th graders Sophia Mora, Mercedes Garza, Haylee Rose, Olivia Clark, Ariela Zazueta, Rhiannon Chiniewicz, Aubrie Hetland and Lindsay Ellis.
"I generally have at least one field trip visit per year, usually pre-school children. This was the first time for the girl scouts, and it was so much fun -- they were a great group," Nguyen said. "They were all interested in earning their animal care badge, so they were very engaged."
Troop leader Nichole Hetland arranged the visit with Nguyen, noting that the girls' animal badge quest involved learning about the many ways animals help humans. She itemized the specific criteria: explore the connection between humans and animals; find out how animals help keep people safe; know how animals help people emotionally; check out how animals help people with disabilities; look at how animals might help us in the future.
"We were able to explore the vet facility with a tour," Hetland said. "We got to see some of the pets being boarded, and we also got to see some of the many kittens that Dr. Beth rescued from a house that was raided locally in Woodburn."
In fact, the scouts had some hands-on experience by helping Nguyen with the rescued cats, which are up for adoption at WPH.
"They seemed to enjoy interacting with the animals best," Nguyen noted. "Earlier this summer I helped the police department by taking in 50 cats and kittens from 2 different hoarding situations, and they (girl scouts) got to listen to their hearts and help me take sutures out, as the kittens had been spayed about 2 weeks prior."
Nguyen added that 12 kittens and 3 adults cats remain in need of homes; $125 adoption fee for each, and they are spayed and neutered, treated for internal and external parasites, and up to date on vaccines.
"The girls shared their own personal stories, about their own pets," Hetland said. "They talked about loss, and some of the girls shared experiences of their loss of a pet. They also shared how their animals bring them joy, happiness and companionship.
"It was a great experience to talk about these things as a group."
Hetland said the scouts also learned the steps involved in becoming a veterinarian, and what steps they can take now to work toward a veterinary medicine career goal.
"We have several girls who want to become veterinarians, so this was a perfect segue into exposing them to this type of career exploration," Hetland said. "Dr. Beth is great example of a role model for the girls. She is a successful veterinarian, who is involved in the community. This is who we want our girls exposed to."
The visit puts the scouts in good position to attain their animal helpers badge. They all earned their babysitting badges earlier this fall.
Hetland describes the troop as very hands on and goal oriented.
"We also do a lot of community service projects," the troop leader said. "I think it's great to have fun and earn badges, but I also think everyone should also be willing to give back and help others in need. When you expose kids to kindness and community at a young age, you are instilling that foundation, in hopes that's it'll stick with them throughout their life. We are always looking for community service projects to help out with as well."
As for the pets?
Nguyen said it is important for pet owners to be attentive and keep abreast of dietary needs and recommendations, daily care and exams.
"Annual exams are so important for our pets and as they age and having exams performed every 6 months can help us pick up abnormalities early and provide treatment before the diseases are too advanced," Nguyen said.
Online: For information about the Girl Scouts or to join, visit www.girlscoutsosw.org.
Woodburn Troop No. 13019: facebook.com/Girlscouttroop13019
Woodburn Pet Hospital
Address: 985 Evergreen Road, Woodburn
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