Maddie's® Shelter Medicine Program

Saving lives through science, leadership, and service.

Maddie's® Spayathon4PR HQHVSN Apprenticeship

Maddie's Spayathon4PR HQHVSN Apprenticeship with MSMP at Cornell

*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all Spayathon for Puerto Rico trips and programs are on pause. 

Congratulations to the 5 applicants selected to participate in our Maddie's Spayathon4PR HQHVSN Apprenticeship program during ROUND 7 of Spayathon for Puerto Rico with Team Cornell in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, in May 2020!

  • Leticia Arroyo,  Animal Care Center of NYC (New York)
  • Rachel Bryan,  Humane Society of Greater Savannah (Georgia)
  • Karina Fonseca,  Humane Society for North Central Florida (Florida)
  • Brianna Marshall,  Brother Wolf Animal Rescue (North Carolina)
  • Sarah Sperling,  Altered Tails (Arizona)


How is the Maddie’s Apprenticeship different from other Surgical Team volunteer positions on the team:

The Maddie’s Spayathon4PR HQHVSN Apprenticeship is open to LVT and vet assistants employed by humane organizations or other animal welfare groups who have basic skills from working in a clinic, shelter, or medical program, but who would like a training experience specifically in a high-quality, high-volume spay neuter field clinic setting.  Requirements include online training sessions before and after the clinic, reading and video-viewing assignments, and online quizzes. They will be assisting the surgical team by rotating through the various clinic areas, acting as assistants in receiving, induction, anesthesia, recovery, and discharge. They are funded through a $1500 stipend that is granted directly to their organization to help cover their expenses for participation in the clinic, including air and ground travel, lodging, and food.  The apprenticeship is currently only offered through a grant to Cornell University’s Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at Cornell.

Surgical Team volunteers (DVM, LVT, Vet Assts, and Support) apply directly to Spayathon for Puerto Rico teams and are expected to be already highly skilled in HQHVSN and field settings. While they have a group meeting and orientation, they are expected to hit the ground running and not require training. They are reimbursed for travel costs after the clinic, and lodging is provided.

What is it all about:

The Maddie's Apprenticeship program will consist of three parts, ALL of which are mandatory:

  1. Preliminary online and remote training (to include reading material, online meetings, and written assignments) prior to the field clinic.
  2. Completion of a 9 day field Spayathon for Puerto Rico clinic, from set-up to breakdown, with 6 surgical days.
  3. A post training debriefing session and survey with clinic leadership.

There will be seven apprentice positions per clinic, and participants will rotate between induction, anesthesia/surgery, and recovery areas of the clinic over the course of the 6 clinic days. Apprentices will assist and be directly supervised by experienced licensed veterinary technicians and shelter veterinarians in all of their roles.

When does it happen:

Clinic dates for 2019 - 2020 are as follows. NOTE THESE ARE ACTUAL ON SITE CLINIC DATES and do not include travel the day before and after the clinic.

Round 5:

  • Clinic dates: October 31 - Nov 8, 2019

Round 6 (dates have changed):

  • Clinic dates: February 21, 2020 - February 26, 2020
  • Arrival date (travel): February 18, 2020
  • Set up: February 19 & 20, 2020
  • Tear down: February 27, 2020
  • Departure date (travel): February 28, 2020 
  • Location: TBA

Round 7 (dates have changed):

  • Clinic dates: May 1, 2020 - May 6, 2020
  • Arrival date (travel): April 28, 2020
  • Set up: April 29 & 30, 2020
  • Tear down: May 7, 2020
  • Departure date (travel): May 8, 2020
  • Location; TBD

Round 8 (dates have changed): 

  • Clinic dates: November 6, 2020 - November 11, 2020
  • Arrival date (travel):November 3, 2020
  • Set up: November 4 & 5, 2020
  • Tear down: November 12, 2020
  • Departure date (travel): November 13, 2020
  • Location: TBD


Each organization sending an apprentice will receive $1500 to support travel and lodging for the participant. Apprentices will work with their organization to use these funds to book travel, rent an "apprenticeship team" minivan for ground transportation during the clinic, rent shared housing with the other apprentices through Airbnb or other service, and cover additional costs. MSMP leadership can help coordinate these activities with the rest of the surgical team. One apprentice will be named as Captain and Overlord of the Apprenticeship Squad for each clinic to help coordinate these activities for the apprenticeship team in collaboration with the Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program (MSMP) leadership. Funds remaining are the organization's to use in implementation of related programs.

Physical requirements:

Candidate must have the ability to meet the physical demands of the position, which include, but are not limited to, stressful situations, prolonged standing and kneeling, warm environmental conditions, and lifting and restraining animals that may exceed 50 pounds. Clinics open at 6am and often don't end until after 6pm. You also should read the CDC's recommendations for travel to Puerto Rico in terms of medical risks and preventive care prior to applying. 


Please complete and submit the form that can be found by clicking on the link below.

Application link: 

*Notification of Acceptance: Applications will be reviewed and selected team members contacted with notice of their award by 6 weeks prior to the date of the clinic.