Shelter Medicine Internship at OCAS

Shelter Medicine Internship at OCAS

The internship will provide NCSU students with shelter companion animal husbandry and shelter medicine experience combined with school credit Via ANS 492 or ANS 493 to be determined by the NCSU course coordinator. The shelter will host the interns to work in the shelter alongside the Animal Care Technicians, Veterinary Health Care Technicians, and the Program Coordinators. A key component of this working intern program is for the interns to aid with shelter animal husbandry and care while gaining animal experience and veterinary contact hours. The students will also receive a certificate of completion from the NC State Veterinary Professions Advising Center.

Intern Tasks and Responsibilities

Stage 1: Animal Enrichment and Volunteer Programs (15 hours)
    1. Assist in dog walking and other physical enrichment
    2. Assist in animal socialization (dogs, puppies, cats, and kittens) via petting and social enrichment
    3. Learn dog and cat body language and communication styles
    4. Assist in teaching basic dog manners
    5. Learn to properly sanitize kennels and cages in the adoption areas
    6. Assist with laundry
    7. Learn the adoption “meet and greet” process at OCAS

In order to proceed to the next section of the program, the student must 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.  Students should understand biosecurity, disease prevention and proper sanitation in a shelter setting.

Stage 2: Animal Husbandry (20 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
    6. Assist with adoption process “meet and greet”

In order to proceed to the next section of the program, the student must complete the meet and greet PowerPoint, basic sanitation and behavior webinars, and demonstrate the ability to identify signals of aggression in dogs and cats.

Stage 3: Assisting the Veterinary Staff (15 hours)
  1. Clean instruments and wrap surgical packs
  2. Check animal health status and assist with medical rounds
  3. Identify animals in need of medical attention
  4. Assist with patient preparation for surgery
  5. Assist with restraint 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 of animals, etc. Any student with concerns 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 shelter 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 Program Coordinator, Shelter Manger, 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 OCAS 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 OCAS on Saturday in January. Date TBA
  • 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

Interviews will be conducted after the application period has closed.