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Army veterinary workers hone skills by stitching up kids’ ragged teddy bears

Veterinarian technician Spc. Michael Simmons operates on a stuffed animal at the base animal hospital in Vilseck, Germany, Monday, May 7, 2018.

MARTIN EGNASH/STARS AND STRIPES

By MARTIN EGNASH | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 7, 2018

VILSECK, Germany – Local teddy bears and other stuffed animals received serious postsurgery instructions after Army veterinary workers operated on “injured” stuffed animals for the children of servicemembers and civilians.

“No physical training for two weeks and get plenty of cuddles,” clinic workers told the children.

Medics at the “Teddy Bear Clinic” reattached broken limbs, sewed up lacerations and performed emergency organ transplants (replacing lost stuffing) at the Vilseck hospital over the past few weeks. The last patients will be released from medical care this week.

The goal of the clinic was to provide the veterinary workers with a safe way to practice suturing techniques on something resembling an animal without risk of working on somebody’s living pet.

“It was actually good training,” said Spc. Michael Simmons, a veterinarian technician on base. “We don’t get a lot of opportunities to work on suturing.”
The stuffed animals were provided by local soldiers and families looking to stitch up their kids’ companions.

The veterinary hospital plans on doing similar clinics later this year.

egnash.martin@stripes.com
Twitter: @Marty_Stripes

A "patient" after veterinarians operated on an arm injury at the animal hospital in Vilseck, Germany, Monday, May 7, 2018.
MARTIN EGNASH/STARS AND STRIPES

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