No, don’t beware, be aWEAR, as in aWEARness Clothing, a T-shirt company founded by University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine (UF CVM) senior student Allison Montague. We learned about Allison and her clothing venture in the Winter 2008 issue of Florida Veterinarian; a quarterly publication produced by our alma mater that highlights the UF CVM, its alumni, students, and faculty. Coincidentally, the current issue also included a great article about a classmate of mine and his contributions to international veterinary medicine and veterinary epidemiology—way to go, Jose!
Anyway… aWEARness produces a line of clothing highlighting the pet overpopulation problem and advocating surgical sterilization. The T-shirts are fun retro designs featuring tongue-in-cheek slogans about spaying and neutering (like my personal favorite: “Neutering makes dogs less NUTS”). aWEARness is newsworthy because, after Alachua County decided to cut funding to the CVM’s shelter medicine program, Allison elected to donate all profits from her clothing company to help support this valuable program, which—among other things—helps veterinary students gain valuable experience in the surgical procedures they’ll perform most once out in practice.
Believe it or not, this program was in its infancy just 10 years ago when Dr. Burns graduated from vet school. We were fortunate at that time to have the opportunity to perform a spay or neuter on just a couple shelter animals. In the decade since we graduated, the program has expanded to provide more extensive experience for students. The value of such a program—for veterinarians in training, for the CVM, for the allied animal control organizations, for the practices that eventually hire these veterinary graduates, and for the pets they will surgically sterilize early in their careers—can’t be overemphasized. But, like anything else worthwhile, such programs take money to continue. We’d like to commend Allison for her philanthropy (we know as well as anyone that a veterinary education ain’t cheap!) and creativity, and encourage you to check out aWearness Clothing; it just might make you the talk of the dog park!