Northern Michigan University's Pre-Vet Club continues to play an important role in three sled dog races taking place this weekend: the UP200 Powered by NMU, Jack Pine 30 and Midnight Run. Eight to 12 members from the club are expected to be volunteering at the events, helping the veterinarians to make sure the dogs' hearts and lungs are good for the journey, as well as checking on the condition of their paw pads, muscles and joints.
“[The UP200 is] something unique that we have here in the Midwest and Upper Peninsula in particular. It's something that we're lucky to have.” said President of the Pre-Vet club, Paige Isaacson. “When people see that you're volunteering, that draws attention to the Pre-Vet club and it gives us more opportunities as a club to get experience to then apply to vet school. Other than that, I just think that it's so much fun and it's not something that everybody in the country is able to experience.”
Being able to work with actual animals is a huge deal for students going into the veterinary field. While they work with blow-up models of animals to practice CPR and suturing, having real-life experience with animals helps to gain confidence for real-life situations where what they do matters. That being said, there are other jobs that members of the Pre-Vet Club help out with.
“A lot of our members do dog handling during the UP200, which is the most fun thing ever,” said Secretary of the club, Jordan Troeger. “We help out the mushers and their teams by bringing their sled dog teams up to the starting line. So, there's a whole bunch of dog handlers for one team, and we all grab a hold of the dog team's harnesses. Then we all just sprint with the dogs up to the starting line. It's to help guide the lead dog and help them know where to go before the race starts.”
For more information on the UP200, visit up200.org.