Volunteer projects impact seven communities

Our Oath in Action program now in its eighth year
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AVMF Our Oath in Action - Banfield Foundation logos

Hundreds of volunteers displayed the important work of the profession during the 2016 Our Oath in Action projects this past fall. Held across seven locations, these events gave veterinarians, veterinary students, veterinary technicians, veterinary assistants, and veterinary staff members the opportunity to reach out and connect with the animal-loving public outside the veterinary hospital. The American Veterinary Medical Foundation coordinates the program, with funding and volunteer support from the Banfield Foundation.

“As an organization deeply committed to improving the well-being of pets and communities, we are proud to support the great work of the American Veterinary Medical Foundation,” said Kim Van Syoc, executive director of the Banfield Foundation. “We were pleased to be able to provide 2016 support for AVMF’s Our Oath in Action program, which helped to forge valuable connections between veterinarians, veterinary students, and the public.”

Details about the 2016 events follow. (Photos courtesy of AVMF)


The Alabama Veterinary Medical Foundation helped organize the Our Oath in Action event Oct. 1 in Auburn, now in its fourth year. It is held as part of Auburn University’s 2016 Fall Roundup and Taste of Alabama Agriculture. Organizers staffed a booth that drew approximately 3,000. Volunteers talked with those visiting the booth about the care of their pets and being ready for emergencies, and distributed posters and candy. Veterinary students along with an Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine toxicology professor were there to answer questions. The Companion Animal Mobile Equipment Trailer was also on hand; it can provide supplies necessary to house up to 80 pets and can be deployed to care for pets after disaster strikes. The Canine Performance Sciences detector dogs gave a demonstration, too.


At the Animal Adopt-a-Thon, held Oct. 23 in Davis, California, 17 rescue and shelter organizations brought dogs, cats, horses, reptiles, and birds that were up for adoption with reduced or waived fees. In all, 13 animals found homes. The event also had an animal health fair with seven student clubs from the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine as well as sponsors to educate the public about animal obesity, household toxins, and the human-animal bond. In addition, a free veterinary clinic provided 45 examinations and 20 microchips to owners who brought their animals. Animal demonstrations ran throughout the day, such as disc dog and agility. More than a thousand attended the event. 


Volunteers provided a weekend of free veterinary care for less fortunate pet owners Oct. 29-30 in New Britain. Nearly 140 pets were spayed or neutered, and 274 distemper or rabies vaccinations were given, with efforts led by Dr. Gayle Block of Town and Country Veterinary Associates in Vernon. The Connecticut Veterinary Medical Foundation organized the event in collaboration with the local police department.


More than 30 volunteers renovated the Bell County Animal Shelter in Middlesboro on Oct. 22 by adding a fresh coat of paint for all the indoor and outdoor kennels, a fenced-in play yard for the dogs to exercise in, and stainless steel kennels that will allow for more housing and reduce overcrowding. The goal of the remodel was to improve animal welfare for the shelter animals. Many of the helpers hailed from Lincoln Memorial University along with Banfield veterinarians and shelter staff.


The Cummings Community Outreach event took place Oct. 4 in Worcester. Free veterinary care was offered in a community where financial and transportation barriers limit available veterinary services. Animals owned by the homeless and low-income residents of the community received wellness examinations, vaccinations, and spay or neuter procedures while owners were educated on pet care.

The project’s volunteers included local veterinarians, veterinary students from Tufts University, veterinary technicians and veterinary technology students, and members of the surrounding community. 

New York

The New York State Veterinary Medical Society has run the Hall of Veterinary Health at the New York State Fair in Syracuse since 1970. From Aug. 25-Sept. 5, the organization put on daily presentations, first-aid demonstrations, and exhibits to educate families on the practice of veterinary medicine. The grant from the Banfield Foundation allowed the society to create new exhibits: The Comparative Anatomy exhibit, which featured eight animal skulls and a flipboard game created by Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine students; the Dress Like a Surgeon exhibit, where children tried on gowns, shoe covers, gloves, and caps; The Teddy Bear Emergency Room, in which veterinarians “performed surgery” on a stuffed teddy bear; and the Journey Through Imaging exhibit, an interactive imaging display using iPads as well as demonstrations on an ultrasound machine, dental imaging machine, and video otoscope and endoscope. In total, more than 15,000 attendees passed through the exhibits.


On Nov. 12, volunteers provided wellness community outreach in Columbus for pet owners in certain homes for the elderly and disabled as well as for homeless residents of the area. The event also offered spay and neuter outreach services to these individuals. It was organized with the support of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine students, local and OSU veterinarians, and veterinary technician volunteers.

To learn more about Our Oath in Action and other American Veterinary Medical Foundation programs and activities, visit the website.

Related JAVMA content:

Banfield launches foundation with grant to AVMF (Nov. 15, 2015)