Shelter Medicine Internship at WCAC

The purpose of this program is to provide undergraduate students interested in shelter medicine the opportunity to experience all aspects of care of shelter animals.  Upon completion of the program the student will have a better understanding of shelter husbandry, animal behavior in a shelter environment, and shelter Veterinary medicine.  The student will also receive a certificate of completion from the Veterinary Professions Advising Center.

Intern Tasks and Responsibilities

Stage 1: Animal Enrichment (10 hours)

  1. Assist in dog walking and other physical enrichment
  2. Assist in animal socialization (dogs, puppies, cats, and kittens) via cuddling and other social enrichment
  3. Learn dog and cat body language and communication styles
  4. Assist in teaching basic dog manners

In order to proceed to the next section of the program, the student must pass a quiz on the tasks and demonstrate the ability to safely approach and remove dogs from kennels, apply collars and/or harnesses correctly, and pick up and hold cats and kittens.

Stage 2: Assisting the Health Care Technicians in Receiving (15 hours)

  1. Assist in the processing of animals including administering de-worming medication, flea treatment, and vaccinations
  2. Photograph animals as they enter and load images onto the Center website
  3. Assist in delivering medication

In order to proceed to the next section, the student must pass a quiz on the information learned in this portion of the internship.

Stage 3: Animal Husbandry (10 hours)

  1. Feeding and watering cats/dogs/pocket pets
  2. Cleaning and sterilizing feeding bowls and toys
  3. Cleaning kennels or cages for cats/dogs/pocket pets
  4. Laundry
  5. Preparation for the next day such as stocking litter boxes or food

In order to proceed to the next section of the program, the student must pass a quiz on the tasks. Students must also demonstrate the ability to identify signals of aggression in dogs and cats.

Stage 4: Assisting the Veterinary Staff (15 hours)


  1. Clean instruments and wrap surgical packs
  2. Check animal health status
  3. Identify animals in need of medical attention
  4. Assist with patient preparation for surgery
  5. Assist with restrain of animals for physical examinations

To pass the final section of the program, the student will receive literature about common shelter illnesses and diseases and be quizzed on the information.

Physical Requirements:
Several sections of the program can be physically demanding such as husbandry, dog walking, restraint in receiving, etc. Any student with any chronic injuries should consult their doctor prior to beginning the program. Any student that has any allergies to dogs, cats, rabbits, etc. should consult their doctor prior to beginning the program.

Program Outcomes

At the end of the internship, students will have gained:

  • 50 clinical hours in a shelter environment
  • Personal and professional growth in animal care
  • Increased knowledge and understanding of animal care in a shelter environment
  • The opportunity to assist the animals that reside in the Center by providing compassionate care and enrichment during all stages of the program
  • Networking opportunities with shelter staff and affiliated animal and veterinary professionals
  • Animal and veterinary experience

Additionally, students are allowed to continue volunteering and using the experience for animal/veterinary hours for vet school requirements once they complete the internship.

Attainment of Certificate:
The certification program will be overseen by the Volunteer Coordinator, veterinary staff of the Center, VetPAC Internship Co-Coordinators, and Dr. Trivedi. The certificate will be awarded to the student upon completion by VetPAC.

Application Requirements

The application window for the Summer 2024 Shelter Medicine Internship is February 19th, 2024, through March 4th, 2024. Interview offers will be sent by March 8th for the interview timeline of March 18 – 20th, 2024. Applicants will be chosen by March 22nd, 2024. There will be a mandatory orientation for all accepted applicants at WCAC potentially on May 18th (subject to change).

This program has 3 internship opportunities per year: spring, summer, and fall.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Students must be available for the mandatory, two-hour internship orientation at WCAC, dates to be announced.
  • The student must be a current NCSU student with at least a 3.30 GPA. The program is open to all students who are committed to the program. No credit will be given for not completing every portion of the program.
  • Per North Carolina State requirements, all shelter employees (including interns) must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Unvaccinated individuals are ineligible to apply for this internship.
  • Applicants must have 5 hours of weekday morning availability (8:00am-12:00pm), a willingness to learn, and a passion for veterinary medicine.

Application Materials

Students can apply to the program by completing the application’s Google form. Questions should be sent to Students must indicate the shelter they are applying for in the application.

  • Letter of Intent (1 page)
  • Current Resume
  • Unofficial copy of your most recent transcript (transfer students must provide copies of their NCSU transcript and unofficial transcripts from all previous institutions)
  • VetPAC Student Code of Conduct 2023

Interviews will be conducted after the application period has closed.