Nashoba Tech Veterinary Assisting students Carley Robinson (sophomore, Chelmsford), left, and Gabrielle Cartaglia (junior, Chelmsford), center, assist Dr. Joyce Tai, a veterinary intern from Angell Animal Medical Center at the Angell @ Nashoba clinic.
Nashoba Tech Veterinary Assisting students Eryn Tormey (sophomore, Shirley), left, and Zabrina Mercier-Miller (sophomore, Lowell), assist in the Angell @ Nashoba clinic.
Dr. Laurence Sawyer does dental work on Cookie while Victoria Vasilakis of Chelmsford, left, a veterinarian volunteer, and Taylor Snediker of Grafton, a veterinary technician, assist in the Angels @ Nashoba clinic.
WESTFORD — The past year has seen about as many dogs and cats pass through Nashoba Tech as students. The Angell @ Nashoba Veterinary Clinic opened in February 2016, and in its first year in operation, the clinic, led by Dr. Laurence Sawyer, treated more than 1,000 pets, from as far away as Fall River, Springfield and Stoughton. About 68 percent have been dogs, and the rest cats (except for an occasional bunny).
Angell @ Nashoba is a partnership between Nashoba Tech’s Veterinary Assisting program and Angell Animal Medical Center. It offers routine procedures, including spaying/neutering, vaccinations and basic veterinary care for the pets of residents who qualify financially. It’s only the second veterinary clinic in a Massachusetts public high school, and the key to its success is that it’s often the only place some people can afford when their pet needs medical help.
“Many veterinarians are referring people here because they can’t afford the more expensive treatments,” Dr. Sawyer said. “We’re often the last option — it’s either us or put a pet down. We treated a dog who had an infection in her uterus for three weeks, and the owner just couldn’t afford treatment at another clinic.”
Nashoba Tech’s Veterinary Assisting program, in which students are trained to become veterinary technicians and are prepared to continue their education in veterinary science, has shared in the clinic’s success. In just its second year, the program has doubled and now has 36 students, all of whom get a chance to assist in the Angell @ Nashoba clinic. “All I’ve ever wanted to do is work with animals,” said Carley Robinson, a sophomore from Chelmsford who chose to study Veterinary Assisting. “I feel so good about my future because even though I’m still in high school, I’m learning real-world skills that can immediately be put to use in a growing veterinary practice.” “It’s thrilling to watch these students in action here at the clinic,” Dr. Sawyer said. “Their eyes light up when they realize they are able to actually apply what they have learned about in the classroom.”
Angell @ Nashoba is fully staffed with two veterinary technicians in addition to Dr. Sawyer, and one summer intern.
To qualify for use of the clinic, clients must present a photo ID and one of the following:
- Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program card.
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) card.
- Food Stamps/Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card.
- Spay and Neuter Assistance Program certificate.
- Proof that the client resides in public/subsidized housing.
The phone number for the Angell at Nashoba clinic is 978-577-5992. Students are being accepted for the 2017-2018 school year. Call 978-970-4611, ext. 1123.