Har-Ber Students Host Mock Vet Clinic

Har-Ber High School students hosted mock veterinary clinics Nov. 28 for about 100 Hellstern Middle School careers class students.

“I thought it was really cool, because we got to listen to the heartbeat and see how to remove stitches and stuff,” said Taylor Williams, a Hellstern sixth grader.

The middle school students learned about some of the basics of pet care through the mock clinics, such as giving vaccinations, stitching small wounds and taking vital signs, said Patti PriestHar-Ber veterinary science teacher.

Real dogs provided by teachers and stuffed animals donated by Goodwill served as the clinic “patients,” she said.

“The stuffed animals have ‘broke’ legs and ‘need stitches,’ so we're doing things that we don't want to do with the real dogs,” Priest said, adding the students took the vital signs of the real dogs and listened to each dog’s heartbeat with a stethoscope.

“It's very educational,” said Jayden Queen, a Hellstern sixth-grader. “You get to learn how to help animals when they experience any stress.”

Queen noted he wanted to be a veterinarian the first week of careers class this school year, said Kelley Waters, Hellstern careers class teacher.

“I want to help animals in need that need it the most,” Queen said.

The clinics were operated by Har-Ber veterinary science students who are currently working in local animal care positions, Priest said.

Senior Emmerson Sloan worked with the Hellstern students at the mock clinics and is employed as a veterinary assistant at Lunsford Veterinary Care Center in Tontitown.

She said Har-Ber veterinary science classes helped her create some of the pathways toward a career in animal care.

“I currently am in the internship program here, so it allows me to leave school and go to work,” Sloan said.

Lunsford is a mixed practice clinic, giving the 17-year-old a lot of practice and experience with a variety of animals, she said, adding she wants to be a large animal veterinarian.

“I've learned that that's what I want to do,” Sloan said. “I love especially working with the larger ones, because I feel like you can get a better connection and they understand you and you understand them.”

She said she participated in the mock clinics because she wanted to help the middle schoolers understand the different career options they have.

“I think it's really important to be able to show kids what they can do for their future—especially since they do have a passion for animals,” Sloan said.

Five groups of Hellstern students participated in mock clinics throughout the school day, Waters said, adding what the careers class students learn goes beyond veterinary care.

“We talk about teamwork, we talk about communication, we talk about listening skills, we talk about punctuality,” Waters said. “We talk a lot about skills that are essential to be successful in the career field.”

The Hellstern students have likewise spent time in teacher Jonathan Roberts Har-Ber agriculture class and have explored trade and industry career paths at Don Tyson School of Innovation, she said.

“We are grateful for the teachers who are willing to partner with us to open the eyes of young students and the world around them,” she said. “Our hope is for students to understand the different curriculum they can explore during their high school years to better help them decide on a future that fits their aptitudes and interests.”

Students may not realize they can attend classes at DTSOI that are not offered at their high school, Waters said.

Students may also be unaware of training and certifications that are available for them through veterinary science classes, Priest said.

Veterinary science students can earn dog grooming and Fear Free Pets animal handling certifications at no cost, she said. The certifications would be as much as $300 otherwise and are often required for animal care positions.

“We want the time they spend at Springdale Schools to have real value for students’ futures,” Priest said. “It feels like I'm doing something important.