Practice Makes Purrfect
Opened in 2017, the PAWS Veterinary Clinic in Barton Hall provides people receiving government assistance with affordable pet wellness exams, vaccines and testing, medications, dental care and basic surgeries like spays and neuters.
Along with providing lower-income pet owners access to important veterinary services, the clinic is an incredible teaching facility for students in the veterinary technology program and, according to Sarah Proctor, DVM, the program’s director and clinic manager, provides essential training for students, particularly when it comes to interacting with clients.
“I hear from employers constantly that the number one thing they want is a tech who can graduate with the ability to talk to clients,” she says. “If we want our students to be able to earn a pet owner’s trust, we must give them opportunities to practice. Learning something in a classroom is very different from working in a clinical setting with an animal whose owner is watching you.”
“If we want our students to be able to earn a pet owner’s trust, we must give them opportunities to practice. Learning something in a classroom is very different from working in a clinical setting with an animal whose owner is watching you.” ~ Sarah Proctor, DVM
The students agree.
“Working in the clinic has given my classmates and me the ability to interact directly with patients and work on our interpersonal communication skills with clients — all while benefiting local families and their animals,” says Megann Sullivan ’23, ’24, a veterinary technology major who is also currently pursuing a four-year bachelor’s degree in animal science. “It truly helps pull all of our classroom learning together into the real world of veterinary medicine.”
In the five years since it opened, the clinic has provided services for more than 300 pet patients. In the 2021-2022 academic year alone, the clinic staff saw 260 patients during 450 appointments and provided services valued at $128,000 at a cost of $11,000 to their clients. Most of the clinic’s clients come from Dover, Rochester and Somersworth, but a few come from as far away as Manchester.