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A Central Hardin High School student has turned a love of animals into a career-building experience.
Shelby Highbaugh heads to Helmwood Veterinary Clinic every afternoon to spend part of her school day working in and learning about the field of veterinary medicine. Highbaugh is a co-op student and a senior at Central Hardin High School.
She has worked at the clinic since the beginning of the school year. She wanted to pursue veterinary science and the experience would ensure that this was the field in which she wanted to work.
Highbaugh works in the role of veterinary technician in the office. She takes the animals back to exam rooms and gathers basic information such as weight and temperature and the issues that have brought them to the vet. She also assists the doctors with treatments such as administering injections.
Highbaugh had no experience with this type of work before.
“When I first started I was really nervous,” she said.
But since, she’s learned techniques such as how to handle uncooperative animals.
“I would definitely say I feel better prepared,” she said.
Kelly Rabinowitz, the co-op teacher at Central, said the program not only allows students to explore careers before leaving high school, but can point them toward future employment.
“Often the jobs they have during co-op turn into jobs they keep through college and even become their careers,” Rabinowitz said in an email.
Rabinowitz said the people they meet can help them land jobs later by serving as references, and it gives the students job experience to list on a resumé.
Working with an animal fighting an illness is a special part of the job, Highbaugh said. She mentioned cases such as puppies with canine parvovirus, a highly contagious virus that affects the intestines or the heart and can be fatal.
Watching an animal recover and "get reunited with its family, that’s just the best part,” she said.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or email@example.com.