Eddie, a shepherd mix, wiggles around, unsure of the long plastic device that chirps and checks to see if the dog has a micro-chip. However, Eddie is happy to have four humans give him their undivided attention.
The students are part of the St. Petersburg College's School of Veterinary Technology, which moved to its brand new, state-of-the-art facility on Ulmerton Road in Largo about a year ago. Veterinary medicine has changed dramatically and has become very sophisticated, with treatments previously only available for humans now available for animals, said the school's dean, Dr. Richard M. Flora.
The program now serves a total of 450 students with campus-based and online study options. The veterinary technology program started in 1971 in Bay Pines. Technicians assist veterinarians in animal care, radiology, anesthesia, laboratory, nursing and client education.
Most veterinary technology students do it for the love of animals.
Sandra Barwick, of South Tampa, was a cook for 17 years. A medical diagnosis led to a career switch.
"I wanted to follow my passion and help animals," Barwick said. "I had to change careers, why not do something I have always wanted to do?"
Animals really need the help of humans, said Telisha Davis, of St. Petersburg. "Animals don't have a voice. We need to be their voices."
Veterinary technology is a growing field with excellent prospects for jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Graduates of the school have a 97 percent placement rate. Most of the students work in veterinary day practices. But the school's graduates are also employed at specialty referral hospitals, teaching hospitals, Lowry Pary Zoo, Walt Disney World, Busch Gardens, pharmaceutical sales companies and federal government agencies, Flora said.
Flora loves working with the students and helping the animals.
The School of Veterinary Technology "is a great place to be, when you can have animals everywhere around including in the office space. ... The students are here because they want to be," Flora said.
Visit the school's website for more information.