The sun broke through gray skies as hundreds of families made their way to the annual Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine Open House and Teddy Bear Clinic on Saturday, April 2.
The date marked the return of the event following a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Traditionally held on Mom’s Weekend, it also is the first time the open house was held on one of WSU’s recently introduced Family Weekends.
While Pumpkin the anatomically painted cow was a close second, in regular fashion, the Teddy Bear Clinic stole the show.
Andrew Boharski, a third-year veterinary student who spent his time teaching children to suture their stuffed companions, said the event makes it easy for youth to take their first step into veterinary medicine.
“We haven’t had in-person events in so long, so it is nice to interact with the community, especially the kids,” Boharski said. “There is a national shortage of veterinarians right now and this is our opportunity to spark an interest at a young age.”
Draped in blue medical gowns and prepped for surgery by WSU veterinary students, more than 100 estimated teddy bears were repaired at the clinic.
From there, children and adults alike participated in activities with dozens of veterinary student clubs.
Crystal Liu, a third-year veterinary student representing the Aquatics Club, mixed Swedish Fish with pull tabs and other garbage in a bowl to represent the oceans. She gave participants 30 seconds to remove as much garbage as possible.
“They are coming to realize it is pretty difficult to remove the trash that is floating around and stuck to the bottom,” Liu said. “It’s a representation of the things we do as vets working in the field, and it shows that what we do here does have an impact on animals elsewhere.”
Other activities included a dog breed guessing game by the Canine Club, sheep building arts and crafts with the Small Ruminant Club, and veterinary medicine’s version of Pin the Tail on the Donkey — Pin the Sperm on the Oocyte by the Theriogenology Club. Horse skulls and other artifacts on the WSU Student Chapter of the American Association of Equine Practitioners’ table were also popular.
The Theriogenology Club’s practice ultrasound was also a hit with children. Second-year veterinary student Matthew Rafferty said the club wanted to provide an interactive, educational experience using Jell-O and fruit.
“We wanted to demonstrate to the kids, using simple models, not only what we do, but that the work we do is exciting,” Rafferty said.