Pampered Pooches, a dog washing station and student training lab, is coming to Harlingen High School South. Through this project, students in the Pre-Veterinary Academy will be able to practice the skills they need to become veterinary assistants.
This unique opportunity was made possible with funds from a grant offered by the National Future Farmers of America Organization and Tractor Supply Company.
In April, Agriculture Science Teacher and FFA Sponsor, Kristen Rike applied for Grants for Growing: Growing your classroom. This month she received an award letter for $5,000, the maximum amount that can be awarded.
“This will be the first of its kind in HCISD and possibly all RGV school districts,” Rike said.
Money from this grant along with another $2,500 she received from DonorsChoose will be used to buy the necessary materials and supplies to build a dog washing station in her science classroom at Harlingen High School South.
“Together National FFA and Tractor Supply offer this grant to chapters in one of three areas: classroom, chapter, or ag awareness to develop and improve project-based or experiential learning opportunities for students,” Rike said. “I used the Harlingen South FFA chapter to apply because I am one of the advisors, and the students in the Pre-Veterinary Academy are either members of the Harlingen South FFA or Harlingen High FFA chapters.”
This project will offer many great opportunities for students.
“The whole purpose of the lab is to teach the students the skills necessary to be a valuable asset to any veterinary practice,” Rike said. “Students will be instructed in client relations, recording animal health history, proper techniques for examination of coat and skin conditions, basic anatomy, bathing procedures, brushing, care of ears and nails, and proper sanitation.”
Students will also be introduced to business management principles through the operation of this dog washing station.
“They will be responsible for developing and operating budget, marketing the services being offered, purchasing and maintaining inventory, and of course rendering service while maintaining customer satisfaction,” Rike said.
This project will also benefit the HHSS staff with a great opportunity.
“The project will provide services to campus employees on a bi-weekly basis for a nominal fee,” Rike said. “This service will be in operation for the entire school year, and we will take up to 10 dogs per day, twice a week.”
The student training lab is projected to start once all items have been received and installed. This project will be an ongoing lab that provides current and future students the opportunity to practice necessary skills during the school year.
“My hopes are to continue to grow the academy through these innovative hands-on lab opportunities,” Rike said. “This lab will provide students with confidence in carrying out daily tasks when they attend local veterinary clinics for clinical hours and to better prepare them for the end results of the academy, which is to become certified veterinary assistants.”
The Grants for Growing application is offered to FFA chapters throughout the nation. Its funds are collected when the community makes donations at their local Tractor Supply Company stores by purchasing paper emblems.
National FFA offered more than half a million dollars to 152 chapters for the 2020 Grants for Growing Program.