Second- and third-graders play veterinarian for a day at BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Manhattan where they wear lab coats, perform surgery, and explore real medical equipment used by real-life veterinarians.
On a typical Wednesday night, David Bessler, VMD, can be found at BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Manhattan, performing surgery as several lab-coat-clad helpers look on. This scene may not be so different from any other night at the animal hospital, except that the lab coats are filled by two dozen second- and third-grade students in Dr. Bessler’s Little Vets after-school program.
Kids in the Little Vets program play veterinarian for a day at BluePearl Veterinary partners in Manhattan.
Through the Little Vets program, which he founded in 2010, “Dr. Dave” teaches young children the basic concepts of veterinary medicine. The kids get the chance to visit BluePearl, a specialty and emergency animal hospital at 410 W. 55th St., where they see a variety of live animals and explore real medical equipment such as a CT scanner, X-ray machine, MRI, and ultrasound.
And while they don’t treat the pets that come in, the students watch the treatment process from a safe learning distance and get to perform “surgery” by learning to place stitches on a banana.
“I think you can’t learn about the world without falling in love with it,” says Bessler, a senior clinician in BluePearl’s emergency service department. “And I think the more these kids learn about animals, the more they’ll come to love them.”
In addition to the Little Vets program, Bessler offers Advanced Little Vets, a course through which children learn the fundamentals of orthopedic surgery, become familiar with the diagnosis and treatment of common and not-so-common animal toxins, learn about diabetes and parasites, explore the brain, and go on field trips.
For more information, visit littlevets.com.