Joint Base Andrews veterinary team ensures that Spot stays spot-on|
Posted 6/1/2010 Updated 6/1/2010
by Chelsea Gitzen
Capital Flyer staff writer
6/1/2010 - JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- Pets are an important part of many households across America.
People own pets to help motivate them to pursue a more active lifestyle, or to simply enjoy the companionship that they provide.
At Joint Base Andrews, the Army and civilian staffed Veterinary Treatment Facility works to ensure the pets of Joint Team Andrews members as well as military working dogs from units across the National Capital Region are well cared for.
The mission of keeping the working dogs healthy and safe in turn helps to continue to keep the nation's capital secure.
"Our primary mission is to ensure the health of the military working dogs assigned to Joint Base Andrews, Naval Support Facility Anacostia - Bolling Air Force Base, and the Naval District of Washington," said U.S. Army Spc. Hayley St. Pierre-Thomas, Veterinary Treatment Facility senior animal care specialist. "Our secondary mission is to aid in the public health program on base, which includes offering low-cost vaccinations for the pets owned by military members."
The working relationship between the 316th Security Forces Squadron canine unit and the veterinary team is vital to maintaining security on Joint Base Andrews.
"The veterinary clinic team has provided 24 - hour care to our MWD teams and have been there for us in our darkest hour with the recent passing of our military working dog, Ringo," said Master Sgt. Cliff Young, 316 SFS canine unit kennel master. "Veterinary technicians have even adopted some of our military working dogs in the past, taking them home and providing a pleasant quality of life for them in their golden years. During the recent 2010 Joint Service Open House a veterinary technician was with us throughout the entire show wearing K-9 t-shirts and supporting our demonstrations. I speak for my entire team when I say the service and care we receive from them is second to none and we are proud to serve with them."
The Veterinary Treatment Facility staff also protects members on the installation from threats of rabid dogs. The team also takes care of the "public" animals on base.
"We work to ensure the base is safe by managing the animal bite program, a system of checking on every animal bite treated at the installation's emergency room used to prevent any possible risk of rabies," Specialist St. Pierre-Thomas said. "We are also responsible for ensuring the health of all animals kept at the Child Development Centers and Youth Center so we can be sure they do not pose a threat to children."
When a career involves working with animals on a daily basis, it helps to have a love for the patients being treated.
"One thing we all have in common in this career field is our genuine love for animals and our great appreciation for the military working dogs and what they do to protect us all," Specialist St. Pierre-Thomas said. "We can always agree that the care of the dogs comes first."
For more information on how to care for pets or to speak with someone at the Veterinary Treatment Facility, call 240-857-2651.