Soldiers in Germany operate teddy bear clinic for kids

A stuffed bear's wound is displayed on the operating table at the teddy bear suture clinic in Vilseck, Germany, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019. Army veterinary technicians at the clinic practiced stitching up wounds on all types of stuffed animals, not just teddy bears.


By MARTIN EGNASH | STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 29, 2019

Note: This article has been corrected.

VILSECK, Germany – Army veterinarians helped veterinary service personnel practice suturing techniques on stuffed animals this week in the second teddy bear suture clinic to be held here.

At least 16 soldiers from U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria participated in the exercise. They operated on several dozen stuffed animals that were brought in to the clinic, primarily by soldiers’ families.

Sewing up the toys provides valuable training in suturing, a skill they don’t often get to practice, said Sgt. Toni Weaver, one of the techs at the clinic.

“It’s always different when the patient is alive and moving around, but it’s still good to get hands-on experience like this,” Weaver said. “And the place looks really cute with these [stuffed animals] everywhere.”

After the success of the inaugural clinic last year, the exercise was expanded, with families from the Hohenfels and Ansbach military communities invited to bring their stuffed animals to Vilseck for care.

Twitter: @Marty_Stripes


Correction: A previous story incorrectly identified a group of soldiers practicing suturing techniques. Three veterinarians were teaching veterinary services personnel.

Sgt. Toni Weaver, an animal care technician at Rose Barracks, operates on her patient, "Rainbow Kitty," at a clinic for stuffed animals in Vilseck, Germany, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019.

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