How would you celebrate Halloween in a Veterinary Assisting class? With a pet parade!
Writer: Anthony Sexton, Veterinary Assisting Program
How much do you love Animals? Well, dear communities, you’re going to love this! This past Fall, the Scarlet Oaks Veterinary Assisting Program planned and hosted a “Halloween Pet Parade.” We knew that our faculty, staff, and students probably needed a break from the pandemic and Zooming, so the vet assisting students dressed up the animals that boarded in our lab.
Of course, everyone loves to see canines dressed in Halloween costumes! But did you know we have more than dogs and puppies? Not only were the dogs and puppies involved, but also the bearded dragons and ferrets! The students took the opportunity to dress-up along with their animals. Faculty and students could see students dressed as Wonder Woman, a moose, a Gryffindor witch, and even Sully from Monsters Inc. made an appearance.
When I asked Pam Nicodemus, our lab instructor, what the purpose of the pet parade was she responded,
“[..]to give students something positive to focus on, to get students outside, to increase morale [and] students mood.” She saw that because of Covid-19, students have been unmotivated and unhappy, she wanted something positive to come out of 2020. It worked!
During the afternoon pet parade, each lab came out, lined the sidewalks socially distanced and looked at the animals or actually handled them. As the veterinary assisting lab made its way around the campus, tons of students and teachers alike flocked to see the animals. Sadly, because of the pandemic there were some restrictions. One junior vet student, Mia Dooley, was asked how the pandemic had affected the parade, “We had to wear masks, and social distance. That was hard because when people would come to see the animals, the animal would either jump on them or pull us closer to them. Social distancing was made difficult, but we still found a way to follow guidelines and make the parade fun.”
Even with all of the restrictions you could clearly see the joy that the parade brought to all the students involved. Not only had Ms. Nicodemus and her students in the junior/senior veterinary assisting labs successfully increase student morale, but they also gave everyone an inside look into their lab, and the work they do to take care of these animals. Many students from a variety of labs told Ms. Nicodemus that it was, “their favorite day.”
At the end of the day, the pet parade was a hit. Students, teachers, and even adult education participants enjoyed it. In the interview with Ms. Nicodemus, I asked if she was planning on having the parade again next year, she wholeheartedly said, “Definitely!” Go to your calendar and clear your schedule for the month of October 2021. You won’t want to miss next year’s pet parade!