Qatar Foundation’s Equine Veterinary Medical Center offers a unique volunteer opportunity for university students
Students at Qatar Foundation have a unique opportunity to learn more about veterinary medicine through an educational volunteer program designed to equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to help take care of critically ill neonatal equine patients.
These foals are baby animals and just like baby people. They need stimulation, interaction, and support
The volunteer program, offered by the Equine Veterinary Medical Center (EVMC), a Qatar Foundation (QF) member, the Foal Sitting Project aims to engage university students providing critical and intensive care for newborn foals, who are either sick with infectious disease, or who have had birth trauma, and need a lot of support during the first 24 to 48 hours through the first two weeks of their lives.
Dr. Camilla A. Jamieson, Senior Clinical Veterinarian, Internal Medicine, EVMC said: “one of the most important things that these foals need is a person who cares for them, who is interested, and motivated, and who can pay attention to and be by their side.
“These foals are baby animals and just like baby people. They need stimulation, interaction, and support. And just the warmth of having somebody who can give them a few hours of dedicated undivided attention is vital for their healing process and makes them much happier.
“We have an amazing opportunity as we are affiliated with a number of universities and may have many people who are interested in horses, or who are looking to pursue an equine or veterinary related career, and we thought we can harness this resource through offering a volunteer opportunity”.
According to Dr. Jamieson, foal sitters do not need to have any previous experience in veterinary medicine, and volunteering students regardless of their major or area of studies are welcome.
I never thought I would get the opportunity to closely interact and engage with a baby horse, but the foal sitting project made that possible for me
“There is no experience necessary. Loving horses is the only prerequisite and the only requirement. You don’t need to be a vet or highly qualified, but just a person who cares for horses. We will be there to guide and train them,” said Dr. Jamieson.
Describing her experience as a volunteer and foal sitter, Zainab Qazi, a student at Georgetown University in Qatar, QF partner university, said: “It has been a wonderful and truly unique experience for me. I never thought I would get the opportunity to closely interact and engage with a baby horse, but the foal sitting project made that possible for me.
I would hope that we can guide some people and give them the inspiration, or help them realize that they really want to pursue a career in an equine or veterinary field
“I was able to learn more about them from the EVMC medical professionals and I had no concerns regarding safety due to the enforcement of extensive precautionary measures. I would highly recommend this project to all QF students since it was a truly rewarding and valuable experience for me.”
Speaking about the impact that this program will have for the future, Dr. Jamieson said: “It is an amazing opportunity, especially for anybody who wants to do something in the equine or veterinary field, a student who wants to be a vet or a veterinary nurse, or even someone interested in horse training or breeding work.
“I would hope that we can guide some people and give them the inspiration, or help them realize that they really want to pursue a career in an equine or veterinary field.
“My absolute dream would be to have a student who comes through and does our foal sitting program and gets attached to it. And we see them season after season; then follow them through vet school, and maybe even have them as interns in the clinic in the future.”