THE connections people have with animals are vast — from the cows that provide the milk for a bowl of cereal to the deer nibbling on a shrub in the park and from sea lions working with trainers at the zoo to puppies chasing balls in the yard.
This special relationship is explored in a new mobile exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution that serves as an introduction to the world of veterinary medicine.
"Animal Connections: Our Journey Together" is a custom-built exhibit housed on an 18-wheel truck that expands into 1,000 sq. ft. of space and debuted at the American Veterinary Medical Assn.'s (AVMA) annual convention in Chicago, Ill.
After the AVMA convention, the exhibit was first displayed to the general public on the Museum Campus near the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago and will eventually make stops across the country.
Developed to inspire future generations of veterinary professionals, the free exhibit explores the shared responsibility for animal health and well-being.
The exhibit expands on what future generations may think of "beyond what they see in companion animal medicine," explained AVMA chief executive officer Ron DeHaven.
"Animal Connections" was created by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) to mark the 150th anniversary of AVMA. It was made possible through the support of Zoetis Inc., a company that discovers, develops and manufactures veterinary vaccines and medicines.
"The affection that people everywhere have for animals sparked our enthusiasm for an exhibit about veterinary medicine that would inspire lively conversations about the human/animal bond," said Anna R. Cohn, director of SITES.
"Of the more than 74 million American households that include pets, nearly two-thirds consider their pets family members," AVMA president Dr. Doug Aspros said. "The deep connection Americans have with animals and the pivotal role veterinarians play in our relationships with all animals are so wonderful and worthy of celebration on our 150th anniversary."
The exhibit is divided into five sections that focus on animals: in the home, on the farm, at the zoo, in the wild and at the veterinary clinic. Visitors may explore and learn through informative displays, dynamic videos and interactive experiences.