Aspiring veterinarians and vet technician students turned the A. Carman Animal Health Technology Center into a dog’s pampering paradise last Saturday.
More than 225 dogs were brought in to be bathed, have their nails trimmed and have their ears cleaned by the University’s pre-veterinary and veterinary technician students.
In partnership with the Humane Society of Calloway County, dog owners could also have their pet micro-chipped, and canine DNA testing could be completed to determine the breed mix.
Doggie Day Spa typically raises between $2,000 and $3,000, making it the largest fundraiser for the Animal Health Technology/Pre-Veterinary Club. Members use the money to attend state and national conferences, as well as to buy their professors thank you gifts at the end of the year.
The event has occured two to three times a year for the past 11 years. This was the last Doggie Day Spa planned for the 2014–15 academic year.
Lana Hayes, senior from Parsons, Tenn., was the event coordinator. She has been volunteering with Doggie Day Spa since her freshman year.
“I have quite a few under my belt,” Hayes said. “You have to be cool, calm, and collected and a little quirky. We make it happen. It’s awesome-sauce.”
About 100 volunteers are needed to make the event possible, Hayes said.
A large portion of the volunteers were students within the club while others participated as a class requirement.
The event is entirely student-run under the supervision of veterinary technicians and certified veterinarians.
Katie Groves, senior from Elkton, Ky., and the group’s president, said she remembers her first time volunteering at the event five years ago.
“I was very nervous,” Groves said. “But I think the dog was just as nervous as I was.”
In addition to fundraising, the event is hosted to allow students to have hands-on practice for their future careers and sharpen skills that are taught in class.
“It’s a good experience for students, and it’s also good for the community,” James Mackey, freshman from Louisville, Ky., said, while helping microchip dogs with the volunteers from the Humane Society of Calloway County.
Brittney Stinnett, fitness coordinator for the University’s Wellness Center, brought her golden retriever and yellow lab mix, Hester, to the event, as well as Ava, a friend’s yellow lab and border collie mix.
“We heard about the event in the Roundabout newsletter and we wanted to support the pre-veterinary program,” Stinnett said.
Ben Stinnett, a retention specialist for Murray State, said he was excited to bring in Hester and Ava because of the low cost of the grooming.
Hester was microchipped, bathed, had his ears cleaned, nails trimmed and received a new collar and tag for less than $40.
“Hester walked back with the volunteer like it was no big deal,” Brittney said. “He is a ham. He loves this stuff.”
Ava wasn’t as excited about the event as Hester.
“She freaked out,” Ben said. “She jumped in my lap, and she weighs at least 50 pounds. She was so nervous.”
After having their services completed, the students returned each dog its owner with a special bandana tied around their neck.
The students in the club hand-cut each bandana from purchased fabric, Groves said. The bandanas are simple thank you gifts to those who supported the club.
With new bandanas, wagging tails and dangling tongues, dogs returned to their owners pampered and smelling nicer than when they arrived.
In April, the pre-veterinary and animal health technology students, will set up another spa for cats and dogs as part of Animal Health Technology Day.
Story by Abby Siegel, Contributing writer