Veterinary Medicine

(Open to mature 11th and 12th grade students)


Dates: July 18-29, 2016
Cost: $700

Have you ever wanted to be a veterinary technician in training?? Well here is your chance! Work with the veterinarians and staff at the Animal House Veterinary Hospital as they poke, prod and help small and large animals in their daily routines. You will become skilled at handling dogs, cats, horses and exotic animals and learn basic laboratory procedures performed in practice, including how to draw blood on these different species! You will spend time working with a professional horse trainer on basic equine skills and work side-by-side with a certified dog trainer who will give you insights to the canine psyche!  Gain knowledge of the basics of record keeping, the principals of surgery, anesthesia, diagnostic protocols, and sterile procedures by assisting the veterinarians during their daily practice. That is just the tip of the iceberg of knowledge that you will be immersed in while being surrounded by the positive atmosphere of Animal House Veterinary Hospital!

NOTE: Students should be prepared to participate on Saturday, July 23rd, in addition to the regular weekdays.



Dr. Dee Thornell

Known to her patients as ‘Dr. Dee’ and now to the world as "Dr. Dee: Alaska Vet", she has called Alaska home since 1982.  She earned her doctorate, Cum Laude, in 1981 from Michigan State University of Veterinary Medicine.  Dr. Dee is the owner of both Animal House Veterinary Hospital and Noah’s Ark.  She treats every form of pet from small animals, to horses, to exotics but has a special interest in equine dentistry.  Her first clinic was a mobile one, operating out of the back of a pick-up truck and doing business locally, as well as in Healy, Central, and Delta Junction.  In 1996 she renovated and moved into her current location at 2702 Peger Road.  The 11,000 square-foot facility not only includes Animal House Veterinary Hospital, but Noah’s Ark and Muttessori School for Dogs, as well.  Dr. Dee and Ken, her husband, share their log home with 3 dogs, 3 cats, 4 horses and a miniature donkey (Gus). She enjoys driving her two Friesians, “Bart” and “Thor” recreationally, and is beginning to participate in Combined Driving Events.  Both Dr. Dee and Ken are pilots and enjoy flying their Champ around remote Alaska!!

Having known Dr. Terry since 1982 through his position at the University of Alaska, Dr. Dee was pleased to have him return to Fairbanks to practice; after all she did give him a letter of recommendation for vet school!! Both of them were very active in 4-H and FFA, and look forward to introducing future veterinary wannabee’s to the field!


Terry Wighs

It was June 21, 1974 when Terry Wighs, an eager young man fresh from graduating from the University of California, Davis, with a B.S. degree in Animal Science arrived in Fairbanks, Alaska. Perhaps a spiritual haunting, a "calling", to the north country  brought him to the "Land of the Midnight Sun". It was to be a summer job, to work for the Institute of Arctic Biology, at the Reindeer Research Station in Cantwell, Alaska. This adventure turned into a permanent position that lasted until the spring of 1978.

In May of 1978, interests in a new path brought him to a new opportunity to work as a herdsman, for the UAF Agricultural Experimental Station, Animal Science Department.  "Most of us old timers and children, now grown adults, remember these times when cattle grazed on the hillside, and where two cows actually had 'windows' (rumen fistulas) on their sides."  Many toured the swine barn filled with hogs being raised indoors, and enjoyed a moment with "Mark", the Hereford bull, and carefully named steers, being fed experimental rations in the cattle barn. Other pursuits, also took him to rural areas, artificial inseminating cattle and horses for Wighs Bros. Artificial Insemination Service.    

Aviation had always been a passion, and before long, Terry became an Instrument Rated Commercial Pilot. After daily chores were done at day's end, he could be seen heading for the airport to fly his Cessna 170B toward the Alaskan Range.    

As years passed, he was blessed with three children who could often be seen playing in the yard at the farm and walking about the gardens. His oldest daughter, Sarah, still remains in Fairbanks, working as a dental hygenist.    

Terry left the experimental farm in August 1989, after being accepted into Veterinary School at Kansas State University, and graduated four years later with a D.V.M. degree.      

After working for a small animal clinic in Salina, Kansas for 18 years, and after all his children had finished school and left the "nest", the longing to return home to the Golden Heartland brought him back to Alaska.  He now takes on a new chapter, working at the Animal House Veterinary Hospital, as an Associate Veterinarian.

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