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Another Successful Open House

This weekend, I had the privilege of participating in the College's largest, student-led community event of the year: Vet School Open House. For 18 years, the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences has opened its doors for the public to experience what veterinary medicine is all about. Hundreds of students and volunteers come together on this special day to dedicate their time to educate and entertain nearly 15,000 guests with a vast array of animal exhibits and demonstrations. This year, I had the honor to serve as a co-chair and surgeon for the famous Teddy Bear Surgery.

Teddy Bear Surgery is a child's dream. Boys and girls of all ages are encouraged to bring their favorite stuffed animal to the small animal hospital for "surgical repair". Tattered and torn from years of love (or, an unfortunate run-in with the family dog), these fuzzy friends often arrive with frayed stitching, broken arms, missing eyes, and some even require "brain surgery". Whether it's Winnie the Pooh and his need for an organ transplant, or Shamu the whale and his floppy fin, these little surgeons have an endless imagination! Donned in proper surgical attire (gloves, gown, shoe covers, mask, and surgery cap), and with the assistance of a current veterinary student, these teddy bear surgeons snip, wrap, and sew their companion back to health!

My favorite procedure of the day was a 4-year old boy with Horton the elephant, from Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who. I watch as he shuffles down the hallway, his gown ten-sizes too big, carrying his patient in his arms as he enters the surgical suite. I can tell he is immediately overwhelmed with excitement, his eyes darting from table to table as he witnesses his favorite cartoon characters undergoing their respective surgical procedure. Looking over my surgical table, already set at its lowest height, I see nothing but the top of his surgery cap, barely peeking over the top. After finding a small stepping stool, he's ready to get started. "What's wrong with Horton, today? Can you show me where he hurts?" I ask. Shyly, he points to Horton's hind leg. I further recommend we should probably open it up to take a look and place a little "medicine" inside, so Horton can start feeling better soon. Enthusiastically, he agrees. While I'm opening Horton's leg, I ask my teddy bear surgeon if he can pick out his favorite "medicine" to help Horton cheer up. He searches through various buttons and knick-knacks, lights up, and chooses his favorite shiny, blue button. I ask him to place it inside the opening I've made, and assure him that Horton's leg will feel much better now that he's had his medicine. I place a few stitches on Horton's leg and ask my teddy bear surgeon to help wrap the leg with bandage tape. My teddy bear surgeon grins from ear to ear, thanks me for making Horton feel better, and leaves the happiest boy in the world.

Days like this remind me how lucky I am to be a part of a wonderful profession.