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FFA members act as Vets for a Day

Published: Friday, Aug. 22, 2014 9:58 p.m. CDT
(Heidi Litchfield - hlitchfield@shawmedia.com)
Seneca FFA students got to act as Vet for a Day at the Animal Care Hospital, where they watched a surgery being performed.
(Heidi Litchfield - hlitchfield@shawmedia.com)
Dr. Megan Bauer talks to Seneca FFA students after performing a surgery they had a chance to observe at the Animal Care Hospital.
(Heidi Litchfield - hlitchfield@shawmedia.com)
Jeff Maierhofer peaks into the surgical room as his FFA students watch a surgical amputation on a dog.

MORRIS – Four Seneca FFA members took advantage of a unique learning opportunity when they were invited to act as a Vet for a Day at the Animal Care Hospital.

“Whenever we have an opportunity to inspire the next generation, we like to help,” Hospital Manager Matt Johnson said. “They have the opportunity to see more than they do when they are in the exam room with their own pet.

Emily Woods, Becca Schroeder, Rebecca Doloski and Colleen Kinsella not only visited the animal hospital, but also watched two surgeries. One was the neutering of Rebecca Doloski’s service dog. The other was a toe amputation on a dog.

“It wasn’t as bad as I thought,” Woods said after witnessing the amputation. “I want to go into veterinary medicine, and this showed me I can do it. I need to learn how, but I know I can handle it.”

Schroeder was a little more hesitant about witnessing the surgeries, but afterward, she was proud that she did better than she expected.

“I thought I’d have to leave,” she said. “It’s amazing how they stay calm the whole time.”

Kinsella said she didn’t think about the many services veterinarians provide aside from shots, so the procedures were interesting to watch.

Doloski said she was interested to see what her service dog would be like following his surgery, because he’s such a mellow dog.

“It’s really cool to see all of this. Dr. Bauer walked us through the entire procedure,” she said

Johnson graduated Seneca High School in 1994 and also was an FFA member under Jeff Maierhofer, who continues on as the FFA sponsor today.

“I remember FFA being a great program. Some of my favorite courses were animal sciences,” Johnson said. “I always knew I wanted to go into veterinary medicine.”

Remembering his own passion for the program, Johnson naturally wants to inspire today’s FFA members.

Maierhofer said this was the first time the program has partnered with a veterinary hospital. He was excited to offer the opportunity to his members.

“One of the things FFA does is, it strengthens people and takes them places they wouldn’t be able to go,” he said.

Seneca FFA regularly goes to places such as the Chicago Merchandise Mart and the Federal Reserve.

Johnson said the hospital normally donates Vet for a Day certificates to preferred charities, bringing about 30 children a year through its doors to witness surgeries or treatments.

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