Written by Karen C. Weeks, DVM, MBA
Associate Veterinarian at Frontier Village Veterinary Hospital
Being, well, a girl, I’d never been to a Boy Scout meeting, but I was so impressed at how empowered the boys were to run their meeting themselves. Of course they had an adult leader, but he really motivated the boys to run their own show, from the Flag Ceremony and Pledge of Allegiance, to roll call. After routine business was taken care of, it was my turn.
I brought along my sidekick and furry companion, Griffin, because shouldn’t veterinarians always have a dog at their side? (Some of you may have seen his brindled face peeking at you from the doctor’s office at the clinic.) He was pretty unimpressed with the whole thing, and stayed on the rug I brought him like a good boy.
The scout leader had given me a list of subjects to cover- things that the boys were going to have to research and know in order to obtain their merit badge. I covered topics such as what kinds of animals veterinarians work on, what different jobs veterinarians can have, and how much education is involved with getting to and through veterinary school.
I brought pictures of animals I have worked on throughout my career, radiographs of interesting things we have seen, and of course a bunch of specimens in jars. The boys seemed particularly interested in the cuterebra (is it alive? Ewwww! Cooool!). And who doesn’t like a nice preserved eyeball to pass around?
At the end of the presentation, I used Griffin as my sample patient and did a brief physical exam, taking the boys through what we look at as we examine a pet. A few of them were brave enough to listen to Griffin’s heart through my stethoscope. My point to them was that my job is based on careful observation, and that is an important skill to have no matter what you do.
The boys ranged from about 11-15 years old and I felt a little like I was herding cats… and trust me, I am an expert in herding cats… but they stayed relatively focused so I hope it was good experience for them. I love my job, so being able to teach kids about what I do is a true pleasure. Hopefully they are on their way to earning their merit badge… and Griffin is back to sleeping on the couch.