A resource section for the parents, grandparents and teachers of children who want to be veterinarians.
For children, horses are captivating animals. Many young girls and boys have dreamed of owning their own pony or horse and pursuing some sort of career in the equine field. In fact, if your child loves horses, he or she has probably said, “I want to grow up to be a horse vet.” Contrary to what many may say, very few children ever grow out of their love for horses—particularly when it comes to girls. With all of the pony talk that you hear from your horse-crazy child, you may be thinking about the best and safest way to give your child the horse experiences they crave.
Every child will benefit from owning a pet. Pet ownership can help build a child’s self-esteem and confidence. A relationship with a pet can also help a child develop non-verbal communication, compassion, empathy, and even help in building trusting relationships with others.1 As many of us know from our childhood, there is no safer recipient of our secrets and private thoughts than the family pet.
A puppy is the greatest gift you can give your future veterinarian. Studies have shown that pets enhance a child’s cognitive development and their self-esteem.1 In fact, pets have been shown to fulfill many of the same support functions as humans. Pets also contribute to good health.2 Children exposed to pets have a lower frequency of allergic rhinitis and asthma.3 Children who own pets are also more likely to be involved in activities such as sports.4 So what’s the catch?
Do you have a 9- to 12-year-old that wants to be a veterinarian? Has she asked you to buy her a pet or tried to convince you to let her adopt the stray cat that has been coming around the house (because she keeps feeding it)? Your neighbors might have even asked you if your future veterinarian could take care of their dog while they are on vacation. What should you do? Is your child old enough to care for a pet on her own? Can she be trusted to care for someone else’s pet? Should you let her volunteer at an animal shelter?
“Open House can be an eye-opening experience,” she says. “Without this event, a student’s knowledge of the profession may be limited to visiting their local veterinarian or going on farm calls.
“Veterinary medicine can be an absolute blast, but you have to work very, very hard.” This succinctly accurate summary from Stephanie Coffey, a senior in Texas A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine, reflects the school’s “work hard, play hard” philosophy. Their fun yet diligent approach shines through in the annual Open House, held each April as a way of introducing prospective students and their families to the program.