Vet Set Go! Alum Inspires Future Veterinarians

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*Photos courtesy of John Oliver, CameraGraphics

With a passion to encourage, teach and inspire future veterinarians, Chris Carpenter ’89 created Vet Set Go, the first and only web community dedicated to aspiring veterinarians.

Dr. Carpenter has worked for years to help kids and tweens explore their dreams of becoming a veterinarian. When he realized the quandary of a large number of kids wanting to become a veterinarian, but not having the correct resources or knowledge to begin the process, Vet Set Go was born.

“What makes veterinary medicine so different is that the majority of veterinarians made their decision to become a vet before age 13,” said Dr. Carpenter. “Today, one in five children age eight to 11 want to become veterinarians. These statistics display such a good perspective because it shows that veterinary medicine is a calling.”

When he came up with the idea of Vet Set Go, Dr. Carpenter saw it as an enormous opportunity to influence aspiring veterinarians through a more personal, interactive medium on the web.

“I was always looking for ways to encourage and inspire veterinarians,” Dr. Carpenter said. “I realized my young daughter could use an iPad better than I could and was watching YouTube constantly to learn new things. Even if kids can’t go shadow a veterinarian, they can watch it.”

His goal through Vet Set Go is first to encourage aspiring veterinarians to explore their dreams now and not to wait. Second, he wants to give them to exposure and knowledge on how to do so.

The website contains different interactive sections, including articles and videos on interesting cases, activities, games and various discussion forums. Once Dr. Carpenter started posting content, the site’s popularity grew rapidly.

While he learned that the online community was helpful for connecting, Dr. Carpenter found that parents consistently contact him wanting something to give their child to further their education. That led him to publish a hard-cover book, Vet Set Go, a quick start guide and condensed six-chapter book containing content on the website.

The content featured on the website and in the book come from Dr. Carpenter’s experience, as well as friends and colleagues in veterinary medicine. Some recent posts have included cases about a wolf, snapping turtle, a forum about different summer veterinary experiences and the college’s Vet Camp, which he attended last summer.

“I want Vet Set Go to be a campaign for the profession to grab the attention of young kids and parents and show them that veterinary work is awesome,” said Dr. Carpenter.

”Vet Set Go is also an idea factory, and all of the ideas don’t just come from me. A lot of people in the Vet Set Go community have discovered other ways to get involved and gain animal experience through each other.”

In addition to Dr. Carpenter’s extensive work with Vet Set Go, he directs the non-profit Companion Animal Parasite Council in St. Petersburg, Fla., an organization dedicated to keeping pets and people protected from parasitic diseases.

Dr. Carpenter holds a license to practice veterinary medicine in multiple states and is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the National Science Teachers Association. After receiving his DVM from Auburn, Dr. Carpenter completed an MBA.

After the seven years of making Vet Set Go what it is today, Dr. Carpenter works on it in his spare time and truly has a passion for the field of veterinary medicine and its benefits to the public.

“What a gift veterinarians have been given that all of these kids want to learn about and embrace our profession,” said Dr. Carpenter. “If we introduce them, now is the chance to teach them about good pet health care at the very least. Even if they don’t become vets, they learn how to care for a pet at a time when they are so excited about animal science.”

To find out more, visit vetsetgo.com.