GRAFTON, Mass. ‒ A new hay maze and the return of Ariel the skateboarding dog highlight Saturday's annual open house at Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.
The popular event, running from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22, gives the public an inside look at New England's only veterinary school as well as its three on-campus animal clinics. In addition to tours through the Tufts Wildlife Clinic, Foster Hospital for Small Animals and Hospital for Large Animals — which provide emergency and specialty care for a combined 30,000 animals a year — families can enjoy hay rides and working dog demonstrations, participate in mock surgeries and learn about animal health from a number of informational sessions. They can also learn just what it takes to apply to veterinary school, a process that is more competitive than applying to study human medicine.
"Open House offers an opportunity to open our doors and show the public just what a special place the veterinary school is," said Dr. Deborah T. Kochevar, dean of the Cummings School. "It’s perfect for children who dream of being veterinarians, neighbors who want to learn more about what goes on here, and everyone who loves animals."
While the event is meant for animal lovers, it is not meant for animals. Kochevar stressed that dogs who are not service animals must be left at home.
This year also marks the Cummings School’s third annual Scouting Day, which allows local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to work on requirements for animal-related badges. In addition to having access to many veterinary medical personnel for questions, scouts will learn how to prepare for health profession careers.
Exhibits at Open House will range from agility and personal protection dogs to rescue and shelter groups from throughout the state, therapy ponies, llamas and alpacas and a birds of prey demonstration by Wingmasters. Veterinary students will also have displays showcasing their various on-campus organizations and will offer face painting and other activities for children and adults.
Kids of all ages can bring their beloved but bedraggled stuffed animals to be stitched or bandaged at the Teddy Bear Clinic, run by the hospital’s veterinary technicians. Children are also welcome to participate in the "You Be the Vet" exercises, in which they will don surgical gowns, participate in mock surgeries and learn the importance of spay and neuter procedures at the Luke and Lily Lerner Spay/Neuter Clinic. Parents are encouraged to bring their cameras for the photo-ready experience.
Also on Saturday is the annual meeting of the Institutional Biosafety Committee, which oversees research activities at the Cummings School. Associate Dean for Research Sawkat Anwer, DMVH, Ph.D., will provide an overview of current research activities at the school, and Sam R. Telford, professor of biomedical sciences, will share his perspective as an infectious diseases researcher at the school, highlighting the recent outbreaks of West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis. The meeting will be in the second-floor quiet lounge of the Agnes Varis Campus Center at 5 Jumbo’s Path at 11 a.m.