A lesson in 'Woof'

A lesson in ‘Woof’

New undergraduate class to teach pre-veterinary students about all things dog

By Sarah Carey

One segment of "The Dog" course will cover the dog show circuit. Sally O'Connell and her grand champion Siberian husky, Mileka's Belle Starr, are shown here with Dr. Patrick Larkin (right) and Dr. Charles Courtney (left).

With subjects including the dog’s role in society, proper pet grooming and the latest about careers in veterinary technology and medicine, a new online course offered this fall through the UF College of Veterinary Medicine targets undergraduate students in a comprehensive educational outreach effort that may be the first of its kind in the United States.

The course, titled simply, “The Dog,” is aimed at undergraduate students planning careers in veterinary fields. It also touches on such topics as evolution, domestication, anatomy and physiology, behavior and dog health. The course is open to students across the country and beyond.

“Besides introducing them to different aspects of dogs in society, we will include topics that will enable these students to be well-rounded when they finish their veterinary studies,” said Patrick Larkin, Ph.D., the course’s instructor.

“Many students who are entering veterinary school have never seen a dog show, but some of their future clients will professionally show dogs,” Larkin said. “For example, professional groomers don’t like it when veterinarians shave their dogs because that means their clients can’t show them for a long time. That particular segment of the course will familiarize students with the nuances of the dog show world.”

For added value, Larkin plans to include interviews with faculty members who will share information about why they chose their particular career path and offering advice to students.

“From deans to department chairs to even some students who recently graduated, there’s a lot of expertise at the UF veterinary school and the pool of knowledge we have to tap into here is really impressive,” Larkin said.

The first course will consist of both UF students and non-UF students. Larkin quickly filled the UF slots, without widely advertising. The registration deadline is Aug. 20. For more information about the course, visit sacs.vetmed.ufl.edu and click on Undergraduate Programs or email Larkin at pmlarkin@ufl.edu.