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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Future Veterinarians and Animal Lovers visit Cornell's Veterinary Open House

By Donald Smith, Cornell University
Posted April 15, 2012

Since she was a little girl, Lauren Neuendorf wanted to go to Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine. Though she grew up in Westchester County near New York City, her parents brought her to Cornell for Open House, and she was hooked.

Cornell DVM student Lauren Neuendorf welcomes
a family attending Open House on April 14, 2012.
Lauren is now a first-year student in Cornell's DVM Class of 2015 and she is giving back. "I am so excited to be on the other side of Open House this year," she told me yesterday as she welcomed families to the college. "I came here as a high school and undergraduate student and now I am a veterinary student welcoming the public."

Many children brought their teddy bears or stuffed animals to Open House--even their baby dolls--to have lacerations and scrapes treated by  future veterinarians in the mock surgery room. First- and second-year students welcomed the children, examined the patients with their stethoscopes and even hooked up simulated IV fluid lines before tending to the injuries. 

Eight functioning surgical tables were running simultaneously and if you watched the scene long enough you would occasionally catch a tear rolling down the cheek of a grandparent as they imagined having a veterinarian in the family some day. One parent told me how the teddy bear experience her six-year-old son had last year helped calm his four-year-old sister's anxiety when she had to go to the emergency room with a fractured arm some months later. 

Jack, Olivia and Sophie watch as first-year students,
Sara Fracapane (L) and Brett Robinson
repair a laceration on Olivia's stuffed penquin.

Open House visitor monitoring her teddy hear 
during surgery.
Some children chose to wear surgery attire and monitor their animal's heart and lungs during the surgery .

Thousands of people come to Cornell's Veterinary Open House each April to see the animals and veterinary facilities, and to meet the next generation of veterinarians. It is a thrilling educational experience for people of all ages. 

And for people like student Lauren Neuendorf, it is a chance to remember a dream she has carried from childhood to the halls of the number one veterinary college in the country.

Dr. Smith welcomes comments at