‘This makes me fall in love with vet med again’

Veterinary students help open house attendees scrub in, learn suture techniques, use stethoscopes



Gemma Goesling, center, uses a stethoscope to listen to Drax the dog’s heartbeat Saturday afternoon at the College of Veterinary Medicine Open House.

EMMA LEDBETTER, Evergreen news editor

Children donned surgical gowns, gloves and stethoscopes Saturday to get a glimpse into the life of a veterinarian with support from current WSU veterinary students.

Heather Calkins and her daughter Gracie pet Cheddar, a retired laboratory dog, Saturday afternoon at the College of Veterinary Medicine Open House.

The College of Veterinary Medicine’s Open House featured a stuffed animal surgery station, tables for various student groups and dogs ready to have their heartbeat checked. 

Event attendees Heather and Gracie Calkins said their favorite part of the event was Pumpkin, a cow painted with anatomical features like bones and organs. 

Gracie scrubbed in to suture her pangolin, a stuffed animal she got from the San Diego Zoo. She said she wants to be a vet because she likes to help animals, just like she helped her pangolin.

Abigail Bake, third-year veterinary student, spent her Saturday helping at the surgery station, supplying sutures, gauze and helpful tips for participants. She said she wanted to help at the event because she believes it is important to give back to the community, and the best part of helping with the surgery station was interacting with children excited about veterinary medicine. 

Third-year vet med student Sydney Vallin scrubbed in to assist 13-year-old Ana Miller in performing surgery. Ana’s mother, Kari Miller, said they came from Moscow for the event because Ana wants to get connected with students before she starts applying to colleges. Kari said Ana has always wanted to be a vet and is already thinking about her application to vet school.

Third-year veterinary student Sydney Vallin, right, helps Ana Miller suture a stuffed animal Saturday afternoon at the College of Veterinary Medicine Open House.

Jeff and E’Raina Goesling heard about the event through Facebook and decided to attend because their daughter Gemma, 3, wants to be a vet. E’Raina said they liked visiting the various tables because all of the students were helpful with answering their questions or giving demonstrations.

This year marks the event’s return after a two-year hiatus because of the pandemic. Kay Glaser, CVM director of development, said she was happy to see families and children at the event after the pause.

Glaser said she has been involved with the open house for 10 years and loves seeing how involved the student groups are. 

At the Human-Animal Bond Club table, Brittany Carlson gave visitors information about the club’s euthanasia simulation program. Carlson, first-year veterinary student, said the club recruits paid actors to simulate a pet owner’s reaction to their pet being euthanized. This gives vet students the chance to experience what many feel is a fearful situation in a low-stakes environment. The club aims to help vets and vet students learn to prolong the human-animal bond through their work. 

Carlson said she enjoyed seeing young children participate in the activities at the event.

“That was literally me,” she said. “We get so sucked into being vet students and how hard it is that we forget why we do it. This makes me fall in love with vet med again.”