By Tamas Mondovics
‘Bring your Pet to School Day’ at Johnson County High School did not disappoint the nearly 50 students that are part of the school’s Agriscience and Small Animal Science introductory courses. The students enjoyed a special treat thanks to a visit by Tucker, a Labrador retriever, who was more than happy to show off his Frisbee-catching skills. The class under the direction of Agriculture Teacher, Tracy Dugger, and Tuckers owner, who also takes the lead as the instructor for Animal Science and Aquaculture courses, allows students to learn a variety of topics that promise to come in handy in future careers.
“Agriscience and Small Animal Science are introductory courses for our agriculture program at Johnson County that includes Horticulture and Agriculture Mechanics,” said Dugger. “Agriculture education balances three elements, such as classroom instruction, FFA leadership, and hands-on agriculture experience through the Aquacenter, greenhouses, and shop.”
Dugger emphasized that the Small Animal Science course will help prepare students for a career in Animal Science and for students interested in learning more about becoming a veterinarian, vet tech, vet assistant, or pursuing a variety of scientific, health, or agriculture professions.
“This course covers anatomy and physiological systems of different groups of small animals, as well as careers, leadership, and history of the industry,” he said. “Our students learn about nutrition, reproduction, diseases, handling, and other management in the care of small animals such as pets, just to name a few.”
But there is more, and it is here that Friday’s ‘Bring your pet to school’ event comes in handy. The Small Animal Science course also provides a structured opportunity for students to not only bring in a pet or experience a pet through a hands-on demonstration, such as experienced with Tucker, but also discussions regarding care, discipline, anatomy, behavior, breed characteristics, health, and nutrition.
“I offer what the Tennessee Department of Education terms a “Program of Study” in Animal Science,” Dugger said. “This cluster of animal science classes includes Agriscience, Small Animal Science, Large Animal Science, and Veterinary Science.