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Trip to the Vet

We are just returning from a trip to the Veterinarian and I’ve asked the students who came on the trip to blog their reflections right after while it’s still fresh on their minds. Since one thing we believe in is “medium is the message,” I’m also going to blog about the experience!

This trip came out of a winter project @Alona and I started where we looked up careers and what it took to be those careers and how much money you’d make if you had the career. One career Alona expressed interest in was being a veterinarian. She loves animals! I shared with her how I also wanted to be a vet when I was young but that when I realized you had to cut them open and perform surgery as a vet, I then changed my mind around 18.  I volunteered at a vet office for one day and someone brought in a box of dead kittens – it was one of those moments I realized that being a vet is not just about seeing cute animals. There’s a lot of hard work and you’ve got to have the ability to do and see things that may make you upset.

I asked Alona if she’d be interested in interviewing a vet and she was really excited about doing that. So I emailed Daisy’s vet, Dr. Wheelock from Dilworth Animal Hospital, and got a quick response of “YES” to allowing the kids to interview him and get a tour.

Before our visit, the @Alonalearning, @sassygirl26, @hermoine, and @reagan met and came up with questions. I emailed them to Dr. Wheelock and he printed out our email and had those ready to answer when we got there! Here’s briefly what I remember as his answers, summarized through my lens:


Is it painful seeing the animals going through getting shots and surgery? It can be, but when you know that what you are doing is ultimately helping the animal, you feel good about it. 
Does it really really feel bad if you fail? Yes it can. You have to be able to admit when you don’t know what is wrong with an animal. Even if a person can afford all the tests to try to figure out what is wrong with an animal, sometimes you still don’t know the answer. It can feel like failure, but really you can’t look at it that way. You just have to try to do the best you can.  
Did you ever doubt you could perform surgery or give shots to animals? I can’t really remember his response to this question. 
What age were you when you realized you wanted to be a vet? Dr. Wheelock said he wanted to be a vet when he was a kid. He added that now as an adult, he realizes how hard it actually is to be a vet – that’s something he didn’t know as a kid. 
What did you have to do to become a vet? Dr. Wheelock said he needed really good grades in high school and then to graduate college. After getting his 4 year degree he applied to vet school, which lasts 4 years. If you want to specialize in a particular field – like studying lab samples, then you have to do even more school, maybe 2-8 more years. He also told us that getting into vet school is harder than getting into human medical school – but the difference is that once you are in, it’s pretty typical that you finish vet school. In human medical school they work to weed you out through the program so many people never finish medical school.
What is the most difficult type of animal or animals to work on or diagnose? Why? Zoo animals are really hard, like tigers, because you have to try to treat them without getting hurt yourself or having them hurt themselves. It’s also hard to treat pets that don’t want you near them, like an angry, sick dog that is trying to bite you. He said you have to be really creative in figuring out how to treat animals in these circumstances. 
What is your favorite type of animal to work on? Why? While Dr. Wheelock admits that puppies and kittens are cute and fun to work on, he feels that older animals are the most fun to work with. He says you can look into their eyes and see that they have personalities and have lived.
Was there ever an animal that you couldn’t diagnose? What happened? This was kinda covered in the failure question.

Here are some pictures from our visit:
Waiting in the reception area to meet the vet!


We got to see a dog under anesthesia getting his teeth cleaned. He told us about teeth care and what they have to do while he is under to keep him safe. There is a tube going to his lungs so that if he stops breathing they can keep pumping oxygen into his body.
We went into the X-ray room and saw a lizard full of eggs! The owner was wondering why it wasn’t eating, but the lizard was just too full of eggs it was about to lay!
You cant see this from the picture, but right behind Dr. Wheelock is a box full of samples taken from animals to be examined by the lab to see if the samples are benign or malignant. We are right outside the main surgery room here.

I am so thankful for Dr. Wheelock’s time with us! I have always loved this animal hospital for Daisy, but now I’m even more in love with this place 🙂

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