Tammie Hedges, of Crazy Claws 'N Paws, had lots of questions for the students in the animal science career exploration camp Tuesday afternoon -- from how to clip a dog's nails to taking a temperature.
The four-day camp offered at Wayne Community College, for rising sixth- through eighth-graders, provided insight into careers in animal science and veterinary medicine through hands-on activities in such areas as animal anatomy, food safety and animal care.
Twenty-two students signed up for the first-time camp on the subject, said Jennifer Johnson, applied animal science instructor.
"I would say half of them have the goal of becoming a veterinarian," she said.
On Monday, the group had discussed eggs, with Sanderson Farm generously donating chicken eggs, which Ms. Johnson said are expected to hatch on Wednesday.
Ian Honeycutt was among the more enthusiastic participants, weighing in on most of the subjects broached.
The 12-year-old homeschooler has two dogs and a fish, he said.
"I just came here because I absolutely love animals and I want to know as much about them as possible," he said.
Despite his passion, he is admittedly still a little "iffy" about the medical aspect of making it a career choice.
"I would probably be the guy who talked to them, played with them," he said. "The medical thing just isn't cut out for me. I just like being there with the animals."
Carson Gainous, 12, is more decisive.
"I want to be a veterinarian," the seventh-grader at Norwayne said. "I have three horses, three dogs, two turtles and a hamster."
Wayne Country Day School seventh-grader Hermione Clough, 12, had a similar motivation for attending the camp.
"I want to become a veterinarian and I like animals -- I have four dogs."
Abbigail Figgins had them all beat.
The rising eighth-grader at Mount Olive Middle School lives on a farm with horses, cows, chicken, dogs, cats and rabbits. And her family used to also have pigs, she added.
Harley Haley, a sixth-grader at Norwayne Middle School, has another career field in mind.
"I want to be a marine biologist," she said. "I have one cat and one dog at home. I just want to learn more about animals."
She also had an underlying reason for being involved in the local camp. In addition to making new friends, her attendance also benefits her father.
"My dad, he's on a chicken farm. He really wanted me to work with farm animals," she said, adding, "Every day I just talk about (the camp) the whole day."
Lisa Newkirk, coordinator of the WCC summer camp program, is pleased with the interest demonstrated by the future potential college students.
"There's a shortage of veterinarians for farm animals," she said. "They can get their foundation here in biology and zoology and go on to N.C. State.
"These camps are another opportunity to expose (students) to our campus and what we have to offer."