Veterinary Technology students at New England Institute of Technology (NEIT) are getting real-world, hands-on experience doing what they love – working two days a week at the Pets in Need (PIN) Veterinary Clinic. The Clinic offers services to low-income pet owners at a 70 percent discount and offers a perfect experiential education opportunity for students.
The PIN clinic opened without fanfare in June of 2016. Within 48 hours, it received 106 calls from people who were unable to afford the veterinary care their pets desperately needed. Today, thirty veterinarians, including a board certified radiologist and board-certified surgeons, volunteer time to help PIN’s pets and their owners.
In 2016, New England Institute of Technology was cited as among the top 20 best colleges in the United States for the quality and value of its Veterinarian Technology degree program for 2016-2017.
The rankings were released by The Community for Accredited Online Schools (AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org), a leading higher education information and resource provider. The organization analyzed data from thousands of colleges across the U.S. to determine its list of top schools.
The story of Pets in Need is the story of love and determination—in equal parts. It began with an introduction. Dr. Hank Wietsma and Dr. Gary Block had helped create the Companion Animal Foundation, an organization that helps low-income pet owners—and it was through Block that Wietsma met John Gillespie. Gillespie, a retired healthcare executive and the owner of two dogs, was well aware of the cost of veterinary care. Gillespie was a founder of the Rhode Island Free Clinic, which opened in 1999 and provides medical services to low-income Rhode Islanders—and for some time he’d been thinking of a similar clinic for pets. Wietsma had the same vision of a place where low-income Rhode Islanders could bring their pets for low-cost, high-quality veterinary care. When Gillespie met Wietsma, the clinic came a step closer to being born.
Gillespie and Wietsma turned to Dr. Ernie Finocchio, president of the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and to the Rhode Island Veterinary Medical Association. Would the organizations support the creation of a clinic for people who couldn’t afford the care their pets needed? Two years of hard work followed as they searched for the right space and the right staff, culminating in the clinic’s opening in 2016.