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Rose Parade Kickoff: Hill’s Pet, Critter Fixers Partnership to Help Diversify Veterinary Medicine

By Pet Age Staff//December 19, 2023//

Rose Parade Kickoff: Hill’s Pet, Critter Fixers Partnership to Help Diversify Veterinary Medicine

By: Pet Age Staff//December 19, 2023//

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Pet Age: Hill’s Pet Nutrition

Hill’s Pet Nutrition, a division of Colgate-Palmolive and global leader in science-led nutrition, recently announced a new collaboration with Drs. Vernard Hodges and Terrence Ferguson, stars of Nat Geo Wild’s, “Critter Fixers: Country Vets.” This collaboration will help educate pet parents around the important role nutrition plays in pet health, underscoring how important it is for a pet owner to build a strong relationship with their veterinarian in order to help ensure their pet’s lifelong health. Additionally, the group’s efforts will support outreach to aspiring veterinarians as they work together to help diversify the veterinary profession.

“We began our relationship with Hill’s when we were vet students at Tuskegee and have continued to feed and recommend Hill’s throughout our careers and in our clinics,” said Dr. Hodges. “We are excited to form an official collaboration, combining efforts around our joint missions to help pets, and diversify the face of veterinary medicine, to ensure a healthier and happier future for pets.”

The dynamic collaboration between the doctors and Hill’s will consist of multi-facets, ranging from custom programming at veterinary colleges across the country to support of the Critter Fixer’s “Vet for a Day” program to providing ongoing pet health and nutrition education to both pet owners and veterinarians.

“Hill’s was founded by a veterinarian and today, hundreds of veterinarians, veterinary technicians, PhD nutritionists, food scientists and animal care technicians work to design our products.  Like those working in veterinary clinics across the U.S., veterinary teams at Hill’s are fueled by their passion to improve quality of life and give pet parents more years with their pets.  We are grateful to be a part of this wonderful profession and for the opportunity to partner with the Critter Fixers to celebrate the work of veterinary professionals  and to help address some of the biggest opportunities in our industry,” said Dr. Karen Shenoy, U.S. Chief Veterinary Officer at Hill’s Pet Nutrition.

On New Year’s Day, the Critter Fixers will join Hill’s and Pasadena Humane on its entry in the 2024 Rose Parade presented by Honda. The 55-foot float called “Feed The Love” will celebrate the relationship between pets and the people who care for them, while also encouraging people to consider pet ownership and adopting from a shelter.

Dr. Ferguson and Dr. Hodges will be joined on the float by Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine students and Hill’s student representatives, Chloe Adams-White and Mychaela Smith, along with representatives from Pasadena Humane and the Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love program.

Veterinarians and animal care professionals play a vital role in supporting the relationships between people and their pets, so the Critter Fixers participation helps underscore the importance of the unsung heroes helping keep pets healthy and happy throughout their lifetime – from shelter healthcare teams to veterinary professionals.

“Dr. Ferguson and I are honored to be included in the Hill’s Pet Nutrition and Pasadena Humane’s Rose Parade float,” said Dr. Hodges. “As veterinarians, we get to see and celebrate the special bond people have with their pets, and we are proud to work with Hill’s to help reinforce how important animal healthcare teams are to overall health. We are working together to help ensure we are inviting aspiring students into the animal health profession to ensure pets have access to care for decades to come.”

Building on several successful student events in 2023, Hill’s will continue to support the Critter Fixers ‘Vet for a Day’ program, which the doctors created to give future veterinarians an immersive look into the world of veterinary medicine. The program aims to inspire and mentor the next generation of veterinarians.

“As Black men working in a field in which roughly 90 percent of U.S. veterinarians identify as white—and just 2 percent as Black—the  importance of representation and mentorship has been an incredibly important part of our careers and how we want to give back to the future generations to ensure a more diverse and sustainable future for our profession and the pets we care for,” said Dr. Ferguson.

The program brings experts from across the pet industry to offer unique access to aspiring veterinarians. To support the hands-on training portion, Hill’s will provide a nutrition station to introduce students to the important role nutrition plays in a pet’s overall health and wellbeing and introduce career paths including veterinary nutrition.