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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Finding homes for research animals

By Jonathan Ng

Research animals such as dogs and cats are often a key part of scientific advancements and are used in studies at the U. However, when studies are finished, the animals must be taken care of and often need to find homes.

U researchers who are members of the Retired Research Animal Adoption Program recently held their annual Paws ‘N’ Claws Holiday Bazaar to raise money for the maintenance of the dogs and cats involved in non-invasive studies, as well as to help find homes for them.

At the bazaar, held Nov. 15 at the Eccles Institute for Human Genetics, researchers and students sold items such as jewelry, photography, animal clothing and gingerbread houses. All vendors donated a percent of their sales for supplies and services for the animals, including crates, leashes, surgery, diets and medication.

The U often takes animals from adoption agencies because “(animal adoption agencies) are euthanizing a lot of the dogs and cats,” said Linda Schmidt, a senior research specialist in dermatology at the School of Medicine.

The U then gives the animals medical attention to ensure they are healthy and uses them for research studies.

“We are able to adopt them out,” Schmidt said. “In this case, research kind of saved their life.”

Veterinarians and researchers take care of them while they are kept in the Center for Comparative Medicine.

“The vets up at the U are really good,” Schmidt said.

The U also has a separate animal research lab where more invasive procedures are performed, and animals used there are sometimes euthanized.

The animals kept at the center for comparative medicine are involved in studies for at least a couple of months. Topics vary from lung research to studies that use treadmills. Animals are commonly involved in studies that look at the way a drug is absorbed and distributed throughout the body.

When the studies are completed, researchers try to find homes for the animals with help from fundraisers like the bazaar.

Sofia Robb, a graduate student in the department of neurobiology and anatomy, sold cookies, tents, beds and animal coats at the bazaar.

Robb sold the items specifically for this bazaar, the second one she has participated in. Twenty percent of her sales were donated to help the animals find homes.

Last year, the sales raised about $1,400. This year’s total is not yet available.

“It started out really small. The research community is really supportive,” said Schmidt.

For information on adopting a retired research animal, contact Tena Varvil at [email protected].

[email protected]

Jarad Reddekopp

U professor Matt Mulvey takes “Finn” out for some exercise during the Animal Adoption Fundraiser. The fundraiser raises money to provide pets with proper supplies to be healthy and happy.

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