FIt’s busy days for dogs and students at ridays Tumwater New Market Skills Center’s veterinary assistant program. That’s because with a small donation, you can make an appointment to wash your canine friend while providing hands-on experience working with dogs and caring for animals in New Market to high school students.
Veterinary Assistant Students Bathe Dogs at Tumwater Dog Wash
New Market is a public school offering technical training for high school students in a consortium of 11 school districts. The Veterinary Assistant program includes theory and practical application of skills and concepts including animal restraint; medical terminology; anatomy and physiology; surgery and nursing; and diseases.
Veterinary assistant students attend class Monday through Friday. On Fridays, they offer a dog wash program located in the classroom clinic at 7299 New Market Street SW (Building D). Instructor Jade Williams says these weekly sessions involve more than just bathing local dogs. “All students have jobs,” he says. Owners schedule morning or afternoon appointments by phone. Students take calls and make appointments, find out the dog’s age and sex, whether the dog has been treated for fleas and has any allergies or medical problems, services to be provided, and whether it is okay for students to feed the dog. .
Once the dogs arrive, the students take care of them, including bathing, blow-drying, brushing, ear cleaning, anal expression, and nail trimming, although they don’t cut their hair. Students clean floors, dishes and laundry, and perform all other tasks to manage the dog wash under Williams’ direction. Students learn how to work with different breeds, including how to keep stray dogs safe during the swim process. “Some dogs are easier than others,” said class valedictorian and Tumwater High School junior Audrey Zinis. “It requires different perspectives.”
“When they do good, we pamper them and tell them they did good,” adds Zinis. “We are very gentle.”
Zinis says the students go through procedures to return the pets to their owners after the meeting. “When the owner comes back, we unload and tell them how their dog is doing,” she explains.
Donations to the Veterinary Assistant Program
The New Market dog wash has a suggested donation scale for owners based on their dog’s weight.
For example, the suggested donation for services is $15 for dogs up to 25 pounds, $20 for dogs between 26 and 40 pounds, $25 for dogs between 41 and 70 pounds and $30 for dogs over 70 pounds. If an owner only wants one service, such as just cleaning their dog’s ears, the suggested donation is $5.
Money earned from donations goes back into the classroom for supplies and activities.
Thurston County Veterinary Assistant Student Support
Williams says students from 20 area high schools have signed up. Some students take two years, he says. After the first year, they guide new students. Williams explains that the program is officially in the process of transitioning to a two-year program and is seeking national certification. “It’s great to have returning students so that students can be leaders,” she says. “And they can listen to their peers.”
Adna High School student Shaina Dunlap is one of the returning students. “This is my second year,” he says. “We can help each other. This year, I’m helping others here.”
“We all work together,” Zinis said.
Careers working with dogs are popular
As part of her role managing the program and teaching animal health care, Williams coordinates the students who run the weekly dog wash. “The demand for our classes is high,” he says. “He just blew up last year. We have waiting lists. I have clinics calling to ask if any of our students would be willing to come in as animal caretakers or assistants.
“This is one of our most popular programs,” says New Market CEO Matt Ishler. “Jade is doing great.” The program is a resource for students considering a career as a groomer, farm hand, animal trainer, veterinary assistant, animal control worker, veterinary technician, animal behaviorist, biologist, educator or veterinarian.
Aryanna Persons is a senior at Timberline High School and was helping wash the dogs on a recent Friday. She wants to use the skills and credits she gained at New Market to pursue an animal-related career. “I like working with medicine and dogs,” she says. “It puts two and two together. I hope to attend Pierce College’s veterinary technology program. Through internships, a veterinary assistant program can provide college credits.
Call 360.570.4442 to schedule an appointment for your beloved pooch at the New Market Skills Center veterinary assistant program’s dog wash in Tumwater.