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Alligators and llamas and goats, oh my!

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Dogs, reptiles, llamas, goats and more were among the guests at Oregon State University Pet Day Saturday, May 7.

It was the first Pet Day since 2019, and community members gathered to pet the animals, learn more about veterinary medicine and enjoy a day out with their furry friends.

The event is put on by students of the OSU Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine.

“It’s an event to bring the vet school community together with greater Corvallis community,” co-organizer of Pet Day and second year vet student Kayla Ashland said before the event. “We can open the door to community more than usual, let them see behind the scenes of the vet school and put on educational booths for the kids to get them excited about vet medicine.

A plethora of animals

There were plenty of kids in attendance, eagerly pointing out the animals they encountered. Two-year-old Zoe Caminata was enthralled by the goats.

“She has an obsession with lambs and baby goats and animals in general,” Nathan Caminata, Zoe’s dad said. “This seemed like a great opportunity for her to see those animals.

The goats were surrounded by llamas and sheep. A kid’s zone was nearby with a bounce house and other activities for children.

Booths from local humane societies and shelters as well as other pet-related vendors provided attendees with everything they could possibly need for their own animals.

A dog washing station gave canine owners the chance to have their pooch cleaned by vet students.

Cliff and Sharon Burgess of Dallas brought their golden retriever Solomon to Pet Day so he could get a bath. Vet students Madi Turley and Alyssa Bramon laughed as Solomon shook off the water from his coat.

Although the animal attendees were mostly dogs, a trip inside to the vet school allowed visitors to pet an alligator or snake and see other exotic animals.

One of the unique animals included a bunny in eight-year-old Audrey Fulsher’s backpack. It was her best friend Ashlyn Woogen’s bunny. The two said the best part of Pet Day was seeing all the different animals.

There were even ferrets available to pet. Lane Area Ferret Shelter and Rescue Manager Melanee Ellis said she was at Pet Day with the hope of giving people the opportunity to pet a ferret for the first time and learn more about the animal.

Community impact

Before the event started, community members had the chance to participate in a 5k fun run/walk. Liz Harbert, who works with students at the vet school, brought her dog Cheeter to the walk.

“We always come out to Pet Day and support the clubs,” Harbert said.

Harbert was at the event with her friend Sharon Wolf, a vet technician with the college. Wolf’s dog Jonah is a patient at the OSU vet school.

“If it wasn’t for the students and the vet school, Jonah wouldn’t be able to do the walk,” Wolf said.

Pet Day seemed to be a success, despite the gloomy skies. The beloved community event came back with excitement.

The impact of Pet Day is evident in the students who organized this year’s event.

Ashland said she is from Corvallis and grew up going to Pet Day with her family. She remembers adopting her first family dog at Pet Day.

Besides Ashland, the other student organizers this year were Katrina Coalwell, Patrick Callagy, and Michaela Rybolt.

“When I was an undergrad student on the fence about veterinary medicine, coming to pet day really convinced me,” Rybolt, a first-year vet student said. “Now I want to help others get involved and interested too.”

Maddie Pfeifer covers public safety for Mid-Valley Media. She can be contacted at 541-812-6091 or Madison.Pfeifer@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter via @maddiepfeifer_

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Maddie Pfeifer is the public safety/crime and courts reporter for Mid-Valley Media. She has a bachelor's degree in communication studies from the University of Portland. In her free time, she enjoys watching movies and spending time outdoors.

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