WILMINGTON — Several dozen dogs and their human companions took advantage of a recent sunny afternoon to engage in a healthy human/canine activity that also served to raise funds when Wilmington College’s Veterinarians of Tomorrow held its 11th annual Dog Walk. The event raised a total of $811.
Man’s best friend led their human counterparts to the trail through Denver Williams Park and along the 4-C Bicentennial Trail on walking courses ranging from 1.3 to 2.6 miles. The club presented funds gained from the registration fees, auctioned items and other donations to the Wilmington Area Humane Society.
WC senior Kurt Fortkamp, president of Veterinarians of Tomorrow, said the club not only stages this annual event to bring awareness to the Humane Society and its mission for the welfare of the county’s dog and cat population, but also to promote fitness — both canine and human — as a means for strengthening the bond between dogs and their owners.
“We want to have an animal-focused activity and encourage interest in adopting pets and generating support for the Humane Society,” he said, noting that Sunday’s “parade of dogs” also brings visibility to the good work being done “promoting the welfare of dogs and cats in Clinton County by finding good homes for homeless cats, kittens, dogs and puppies.”
Members of Veterinarians of Tomorrow have firsthand knowledge of the Humane Society’s work, as each member has volunteered there. “It is an amazing organization and we have developed an attachment to the organization and want to see it succeed,“ he added.
Fortkamp estimates the College has as many as 30 students studying pre-veterinary courses of study. He will graduate in May along with seven other club members: Kaitlin Esselman, Kala Fox, Peter Huggins, Brittney Johnson, Aubrey Malott, Whitney Rymer and Ashley Stockton.
While some students’ pre-veterinary curriculum is accomplished as a biology major, Fortkamp took the route of being an animal science major, which gave him the opportunity to gain “hands-on learning experiences” with such agriculture-related animals as sheep, goats and beef cattle.
“I found that to be invaluable, especially as a pre-veterinary student with my interests,” he said, noting his animal science courses complemented the typical veterinary school prerequisites he took that included Intro to Biology I & II, Anatomy/Physiology, Genetics, Microbiology and Biochemistry.
“My education at Wilmington College has been challenging, which is to be expected in pursuit of this career path in veterinary medicine,” he said. “I had to juggle animal science courses with those in biology, chemistry and general education.”
Upon graduation, he plans to take a year off from his academic studies to be a dairy herd manager before applying to veterinary school at universities like Ohio State, Iowa State and Kansas State.