With addition of the Vet Tech program and hours counting for a certification, Smithville High School students are moving towards their childhood dream of taking care of animals. They not only learn about pets and animals that are treated at a veterinarian’s clinic, they get experience in dog handling and restraint while grooming them once a week during class.
“A lot of people say they want to be a vet,” said Ms. Bennight, of the dog grooming addition to her senior level class. “The students see how animals get stressed out and react to situations like being at the vet.”
Each week, students break out into four groups. Two groups groom a dog each at the two stations, while the other two clean up and set up supplies for the following week.
The public can schedule a student dog groom, monitored by Ms. Bennight, that includes pre-brush to get rid of loose hair, bath, shampoo scrub, blower and towel dry, re-brush, ear cleaning and nail trimming. Then they are dressed with a bandana. Cost is $20 per dog.
Individuals also change groups frequently for more experience in working with others.
The program began after Ms. Bennight heard about the dog grooming program at a seminar. She brought the idea back to SISD, and the program began last Spring.
This is just one class in a series. The Animal Systems Course Pathway is as follows: Freshman - Principles or Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources; Sophomore - Livestock Production; Junior - Advanced Animal Science; and this course, Senior - Veterinary Medical Applications.
Vocational Agriculture teacher Peyton Bennight’s class is much more than dog grooming, it also provides hours towards the 200 class hours needed for a Certified Vet Assistant (CVA) license. Students also need 300 hours under a licensed Vet Tech or Veterinarian to be able to tale licensing test.
Before touching a dog, students watched a video and a professional groomer taught the students how to use the equipment and calm dogs, according to Ms. Bennight.
“They asked her a lot of great questions,” said Ms. Bennight.
Then students began lifting and restraining goats outside “because they don’t bite” before Ms. Bennight brought in her own little dog for grooming. Now the students take reservations to groom two dogs a week.
The class teaches other skills that are needed by a veterinary assistant including: anatomy of animals, the use and working of veterinary tools, how to draw blood from animals and inoculate them, how to halter larger animals, and all the skills for that science, said Ms. Bennight.
“We currently have 2 of the 12 students in the classroom who are working towards their certification,” said Ms. Bennight. “They are interning at the Bastrop Veterinary Hospital and Riverside Vet here in Smithville.”