Friday, April 18, 2014 · 4:03 a.m.
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The vet is in this Saturday at the Creative Discovery Museum. (Photo: Staff)

True or false? Kids love animals.

True or false? Parents love taking care of their children’s animals.

This weekend, Pet Vet Day at the Creative Discovery Museum will provide Chattanooga-area kids with paws-on education of how to best care for their pets.

If you go

What: Pet Vet Day

When: Saturday, April 6, 12-4 p.m.

Where: 321 Chestnut St.

How much: Adult and children admission is $11.95

Please note: Visitors are not allowed to bring their own pets

The first-time event will take place in the Corner Clinic on the museum’s first floor on Saturday, April 6 from noon to 4 p.m.

“Really, the goal is for kids to come away knowing that pets require the same thing they do to grow and thrive," said Karen Dewhirst, museum science manager at the Creative Discovery Museum.

Pet Vet Day brings several furry visitors to the Creative Discovery Museum, including agility golden retrievers from Me and My Dogs, disc competition border collies from FlyOn Border Collies and a slew of smaller animals—hamsters, gerbils and ferrets—from Pet Care Warehouse.

Dr. Tracy Dewhirst from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville College of Veterinary Medicine and a few of the school’s veterinary technicians are also on the schedule to help shift the Corner Clinic’s patients from humans to the animal population.

“Kids just love animals, and I thought it would be really fun for them to have the opportunity to play like they were vets,” Karen said. “They will pretend that they’ve brought their pets in, and the techs will try to help diagnose the problem.”

Charlie made friends yesterday with museum visitor Lauren Hartle. (Photo: Staff)

She explained that the professional vets will help kids pinpoint fleas and worms and show them what treatments are available when pets swallow something they shouldn’t eat. They will also bring microscopes, X-rays and preserved specimens, allowing kids to study things like ticks and tapeworms close up.

Curious kids will be able to check out the more exotic of the museum’s permanent animal inhabitants, as well. The Excavation Station houses critters that make homes for themselves underground, including a coral snake, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, a pixie frog, leopard geckos, tarantulas and scorpions.

Finally, Pet Vet Day, which Karen noted was a causal, come-when-you-can kind of event, will feature dog bite avoidance education with the golden retrievers and border collies.

While developing a healthy comfort level with and affection for dogs, knowing the proper and safe social interactions with them is important for children.

“They want to be friendly with the dog, but you have to learn that dogs have a space and what are the best ways to be a friend to a dog but not come away with a bite,” Karen said.

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