For many veterinarians, their calling came early in life. For example, 57.4 percent of applicants who responded to the 2015 Association of American Veterinary Medical College’s Veterinary Medical College Application Service survey said they knew they had wanted to be a veterinarian since they were 10 or younger.
New resources, in the form of a book and a website, aim to foster this passion in the latest generation. Vet Set Go, created by Dr. Christopher Carpenter (Auburn ’89), provides information for tweens and teens to feed their interest in animals by opening doors to veterinary medicine.
“Classroom presentations are fine,” says Dr. Carpenter on the website, www.VetSetGo.com. “I wanted to give today’s aspiring veterinarians something much more powerful. I wanted to give them a way to go behind the scenes and meet veterinarians. I wanted them to hear from veterinarians and see what they do.”
The newly released book, “Vet Set Go!” available through the website for $21, outlines many ways young people can gain experience working with animals now—from shadowing a veterinarian and attending veterinary or zoo camps across the country to pet-sitting and fostering a pet through an animal shelter.
Dr. Carpenter has created “Vet Set Go!” as a how-to resource, particularly for tweens, providing checklists, action plans, introductory letters, and thank-you notes. To complement the book, the website allows visitors to explore the science of taking care of animals, meet veterinarians from all over the country, and take a peek into their practices through the video series called “Meet the Vets.”
The website also offers free games that help prospective veterinarians explore everything from dog breeds to the basics of anatomy in a fun and interactive way. Vet Set Go may offer mobile apps in the future that allow users to learn on their phones.
In addition, program managers from camps, zoos, veterinary colleges, foster programs, and animal shelters as well as veterinarians who hold open houses at their hospitals are invited to post their programs and events here.
Like these young aspiring veterinarians, Dr. Carpenter discovered his passion for animals when he was 11 years old.
“I knew I wanted to be a veterinarian, but all I ever heard from both my family and others was, ‘Well, you better learn science then.’ I didn’t know any vets to talk to about my dream and I never knew about veterinary camps for kids until I started this research for Vet Set Go,” he said in a Jan. 19 press release. “But the reality is there are many creative ways to foster an interest in animals and teach science concepts. Future vets learn science through the love of animals. Animals are a great way to get more kids involved in science—and guide young minds to our profession or related science professions.”