GRAFENWOEHR, Germany – U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria Veterinary Clinic hosts the first Teddy Bear Clinic May 3 at Rose Barracks.
During the clinic, Soldiers from 2nd Cavalry Regiment will practice their suturing skills using injured or damaged stuffed animals.
Capt. Caitlin Sullivan, officer in charge of the Vilseck Veterinary Clinic, hopes this clinic is as popular as the one in her previous assignment.
“This is the first Teddy Bear Clinic at Vilseck. I’ve done one other when I was stationed at Fort Carson in 2016, and it has become an annual event there,” said Sullivan.
The clinic is a win-win for the staff and for children. The unique training opportunity allows the trainees to use different types of sutures and prepare for emergency trauma scenarios. The practice helps the Soldiers retain and sharpen their suturing skills while providing a service to the military children.
“When I did this at Fort Carson, we reattached limbs/ears, repaired lacerations, supplemented missing stuffing using cast padding, enucleated damaged/missing eyes, and in some cases transplanted noses,” Sullivan said.
Soldiers in combat medic and veterinary care military occupational specialties use the suture wet lab to practice basic suturing patterns. Normally the trainees practice on bananas or chicken breasts. By using stuffed animals, the dental personnel include the community in their training.
The children find solace knowing the Army will take care of their loved ones, even if they are stuffed. Making our military children happy, especially if a parent is deployed, remains a priority.
Drop your injured animals off April 23-27 during normal business hours. After a one-week surgery and rehabilitation period, the newly repaired animals can be retrieved May 7-11. Each patient will be sent home with surgical discharge instructions.