TEMPLE, Texas — Minda Wyatt traded in the paper and pen, for a faucet and a pair of hair clippers.
“Ever since I can remember I've told my mom, 'Hey, I want to be a vet when I get older,'” said Wyatt, smiling. “Or something like that.”
The dreams of her future profession started young in her Central Texas home where over 20 animals like cats, dogs and even cows called home too.
However, those dreams began turning into reality when she stepped foot into Temple High School as a sophomore.
“I'm going to be younger than everybody that usually would have [a veterinary assistant certification],” she said. “I feel like this is what's supposed to be happening, it's what I'm supposed to be doing.”
The district’s Pet Spa is a spot for students like Wyatt and Anyssa Perry, a chance to earn their CVA certificate and practice basic skills needed to enter the field.
”It helps me get started faster,” Perry said. “I'll be working with my profession as I'm going to college, so that gives me two ways to get better and [be] more educated with what I want to do.”
However, according to the Veterinary Medical Association, there’s a vet shortage that's expected to only get worse.
A few common reasons for this is includes a large part of the industry that is retiring at a rate where new vets cannot fill the void and a lot of people got household pets during the pandemic which means more help is needed.
“The veterinary shortage is fixing to be really scary,” said Brianna Hubnik, the program’s instructor. “The veterinary industry is hard. So it's really valuable to instill this and have a group of kids that's going into college with some hands-on experience.”
Hubnik even went on to tell a story of a recent graduate of the program who informed her that she is doing so well in school because she knows most of the material just from learning it in high school.
So you could say this program is setting seniors off on the right path towards success.
“It's gonna be sad to leave but it's gonna be fun to start something new,” Wyatt said.
“It's letting me get a feel of what it's going to be like out there,” Perry explained. "It's gonna be a challenge getting into it because there are people from all around the world trying to go to college for the same thing, but I just have to work harder.”
For now, the Wildcat Pet Spa offers groomer services but it looks to expand to add doggy daycare and a pet lodging option by the end of next year.
For prices and availability, you can check out the district’s website.