EARLY LAST SUMMER, staff at Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City were knee- deep in organizing Paint This Town Orange, the school’s festive biennial scholarship fundraiser. While the fundraising team was busy coordinating myriad details for the event, they also were tasked with high- lighting the school’s popular Veterinary Technology program. Why did Oklahoma State University-Okla- homa City leaders want to shine a light on the Veterinary Technology program? First, if you’re a pet owner, you probably know that Americans are in love with their pets. No matter where American pet owners live, their age or ethnicity, or how deeply divided they are on political issues, studies show that they stand united in believing that pets make a positive contribution to their lives. Second, all that pet love is growing. According to the 2017-18 National Pet Owners Survey, 68 percent of U.S. households, or about 85 million families, own a pet. This is up from 56 percent of U.S. households in 1988, the first year of the survey. And, as any devoted pet owner knows, in addition to col- lars, leashes, carriers, pet beds and food, you want and need professional veterinary care for your beloved furry family member. Third, licensed veterinary technicians are critical to a veterinary practice and are in demand. In 2017, the Oklahoma Office of Workforce Development listed veterinary technicians as one of Oklahoma’s critical occupations. The Veterinary Technology pro- gram at Oklahoma State University-Okla- homa City (OSU-OKC) plays a vital role in filling that need by educating and training veterinary technicians. Fourth, salaries for veterinary technicians are in the low to moderate range, which makes scholarships for veterinary technician students extremely important. “Students in the Veterinary Technology program at OSU-OKC provide a range of services to the greater Oklahoma City metro community,” said Amber Hefner, head of the Business and Agriculture Technologies Division at OSU-OKC. “As part of their training, the students in our program treat animals from partnership animal shelters and rescue organizations under the supervi- sion of licensed veterinarians and registered veterinary technicians. Our students also learn to work with a variety of animals, including companion animals, large animals and exotic species.” The challenge OSU-OKC’s fundraising team faced was how to help people connect the need for licensed veterinary technicians to the heart of the cause—those special animal friends that walk, fly and slither into our lives. 12 OKC Pets January/February 2019 OSU-OKC President Brad Williams presented Horseshoe Awards to Dawn Croteau ( rst on the right of Williams) and Emily Haastrup for their winning entries in the school’s inaugural Pet Hero Contest, Oklahoma City, Okla.