Winter 2013

Community Resource

It seems everyone got behind this veterinary clinic

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Worcester Tech senior Sabrina Pepper holds Sassy the cat while Jourdan White, V15, examines the animal's eyes. Observing are senior Paula Machado and Aliza Gentili-Lloyd, V15. Photo: Alonso Nichols

Isamar Zayas brought her dog Puty to the Tufts at Tech Community Veterinary Clinic, desperate to find out why the 3-year-old Chihuahua was so sick. Tests revealed an overactive immune system was destroying the pup’s red blood cells. With treatment, Puty’s blood cell count bounced back. Such care typically costs several hundred dollars. Zayas’s total bill: about $150.

Puty is one of hundreds of pets treated at the primary-care clinic since it opened last spring in Worcester, Mass. A partnership between the Cummings School and Worcester Technical High School, the clinic offers subsidized care to pet owners who might otherwise be unable to afford it. The clinic also helps the high school students become certified veterinary assistants, and fourth-year Cummings School students gain hands-on experience.

“It’s a win-win-win,” says the clinic’s director, Gregory Wolfus, V98. “It’s not hard to convince people to get behind our mission.”

Indeed, the venture has garnered an outpouring of financial support. The clinic and the director’s salary are underwritten by foundations, alumni and friends, and cash donations to date exceed $315,000. Maine-based IDEXX Laboratories, which develops diagnostic and information-sharing technologies to keep animals healthy, contributed $100,000 in equipment, products and funds to name the IDEXX Diagnostic and Discovery Learning Center.

“It was a perfect match with our goals to support the education and development of students pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” said Jim Polewaczyk, corporate vice president at IDEXX.

Support from the Skyline Technical Fund, a foundation that supports Worcester Technical High, covered the cost of construction and will defray operating costs. Iaccarino, a local millworks company, donated a reception desk and bench tops.

Leadership gifts included $100,000 each from the Aurelio M. Caccomo Family Foundation and the Manton Foundation. Tufts alumna Janice Calkin, J51, donated $250,000 to name the clinic waiting area.

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