Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Fulfilling Experience Afterall

Today was the long-awaited NIH Summer Student Poster Day. While I would probably rather be back in on the coast in Washington state working on my clinical techniques some more with the RAVS group, today's poster session went pretty well.

Last summer only 2-3 people came to talk to me about my poster and most of the time I stood there bored or chatting with my neighbors. My poster didn't have cool photos or much direct clinical veterinary relevance compared to some others.

This year, while I was forced to exclude many pictures and incorporate a lot more words than I would have liked to, I got the chance to speak to a lot more people than last year. Some were friends or family, which is always comforting, and others were students who were curious and walking by. The most fulfilling experience was speaking with National Cancer Institute and other principal NIH investigators on analgesia in post-op mice. Many of them were shocked that bupivicaine at the time of surgery was the only pain relief given and were eager to include post-op analgesics in their future studies.

Speaker with researchers, who have budget constraints and can sometimes be insensitive to animal pain, felt very rewarding. While I only spoke to around 10 people, the issue was raised with direct stakeholders, who can help change the standard of analgesia in mice models and lab animal medicine.

While some better results would have been great and less time watching mice all summer more fun, it was amazing to know I made a small difference in lab animal welfare that could be a small step toward better pain management in mice.

In summary, all hard work is usually not without purpose.

Puppy Update: Spokane's second training session on Tuesday went well. She impressed me and made me proud except for 5 minutes after the UPS man knocked on the door. Yesterday, however, she was extremely mouthy to me and Matt. It also seems that each day it is harder to get her into the crate. This morning she thought it was a game and wanted us to chase her. We continue to give her praise, treats, special toys and bones while she's in there, but luring her in is quite the challenge. Once she is inside she lays down and chews on her bones/toys. We have been spending more time with her in the crate as well, not only leaving each time.

It may take more time for her to like it or she might not be a "crate dog", in which case hopefully she becomes trust worthy sooner rather than later.

In the meantime were working on down, her name, leash walking, and come.

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