Kids try on veterinary medicine for size

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Banfield, The Pet Hospital's, FutureVet program has moved from the classroom to the museum.

FutureVet is a career discovery program that provides materials to practitioners who want to reach out and educate students from kindergarten through college. Developed to help encourage children and young adults to pursue careers in pet health and medicine, FutureVet assists veterinarians with giving school presentations about the veterinary profession. Students learn about the anatomy of companion animals through anatomic models, radiographs, case studies, and fun learning activities.

FutureVet exhibit at the Marbles Kids Museum
The Raleigh, N.C., FutureVet exhibit at the Marbles Kids Museum (Courtesy of Banfield, The Pet Hospital)

More recently, Banfield has expanded FutureVet to coincide with pet-themed exhibits inside children's museums across the country to create interactive pet hospitals that teach the fundamentals of pet care from a veterinarian's perspective.

"Children are never too young to learn about responsible pet ownership and proper preventive care for pets. These exhibits provide hands-on learning opportunities for children to use their imagination to love and care for pets just like real veterinarians do every day," said Dr. Karen Johnson, vice president and client advocate for Banfield.

The company partnered with the Portland Children's Museum in Portland, Ore., to create an exhibit that started in June 2010 celebrating the health and wellness of pets. The pet hospital features a reception area, examination rooms, a grooming station, kennels, and real veterinary instruments. In the exhibit, children and their parents don laboratory coats and stethoscopes and can then check vital signs of stuffed animals, review radiographs, and scan for microchips. This is a three-year partnership, and FutureVet presentations are offered throughout the year as well.

This year, Banfield expanded the program by sponsoring a Pet Vet Exhibit inside the Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh, N.C. The exhibit features a child-sized veterinary clinic with examination tables and kennels similar to the exhibit in Portland. Each quarter, the company hosts an hourlong FutureVet presentation given by a Banfield veterinarian. A local Delta Society representative and therapy dog also are invited to attend these presentations so children can interact with the pet.

Banfield also sponsors the Children's Museum of Denver's Ready Vet Go! exhibit, which is mobile and appears at various locations throughout the museum. It also hosts FutureVet presentations throughout the year at the Port Discovery Children's Museum in Baltimore; the Kohl Children's Museum outside Chicago; the Houston Children's Museum; the Minnesota Children's Museum in St. Paul; and the Phoenix Children's Museum.