(COLBY, Kan., May 7, 2000) — Every month at the Lantern Park Manor and Pioneer Senior Living Center nursing homes in Colby, Kan., residents look forward to visiting with some very special friends – the four-legged variety.
Whether it is Pongo, the Border collie, or Moglie the cat, once a month residents at the two nursing homes have the opportunity to spend time with a cat or a dog, thanks to the student veterinary technician association (SVTA) program at Colby Community College.
For more than eleven years, veterinary technician students at the college have been visiting the nursing home each month, taking over animals from the college or sometimes even their own pets to visit with the residents. According to Lori Baney, RVT, clinical pathology instructor of the veterinary technician program, and registered veterinary technician, the program was so well received by the residents when the college made the first visit eleven years ago; the students made it a monthly habit, with the tradition continuing today.
“Each month about two or three students go and spend about an hour at each home,” said Baney. “The students really enjoy it. We never have to ask anyone to sign up to go, the list is always full.”
Baney said that residents react in different ways to the pets visiting. “What we have noticed is that they are just very, very touched by the visits,” said Baney. “Some of them get very emotional,” she said. “They’ll tell us stories about their own pets they have had in their lives. Others just want to hold the pets on their lap the entire time, and don’t want us to take the pet away or share it with anyone else. It is just something they don’t normally get to do every day, and you can tell that they really appreciate spending time with the animals, and experiencing the human animal bond.”
The North American Veterinary Technician Association was organized to represent and promote the profession of veterinary technology. NAVTA, founded in 1981, provides direction, education, support and coordination for its members and works with other allied professional organizations for the competent care and humane treatment of animals. The association is headquartered in Battle Ground, Ind.