Testing on animals has rightly faced controversy for decades, but that doesn't change the fact that in order to learn how to medically treat an animal, veterinary students need practice. In order to give veterinary students a safe, humane method to learn their craft, without practicing on someone's beloved pet; Rescue Critters has created animal mannequins that may look goofy, but mean serious business.

Animal training models have been seen on the market as an educational tool for veterinary students in the past, however, those made by Rescue Critters are more lifelike (or so they say - some look goofy and even scary). Each Rescue Critter kit is designed to teach students a different area of animal care. The prototype Rescue Critter, which was created with assistance by special effects professionals in Los Angeles, was named "Critical Care Jerry". This educational dog has a realistic airway structure, and simulates the normal pulse and working lungs of a dog. Critical Care Jerry retails for almost $3,000 USD and for an extra $259 your dog mannequin can come equipped with a broken leg to teach students how to set and repair a leg fracture.

In addition to Critical Care Jerry, Rescue Critters has created a variety of cats, and even a mouse, that simulate common medical conditions, and train veterinary students to complete specific medical procedures upon an animal. As the most realistic animal training tool for vet students on the market, Rescue Critters seems to be thriving as a business. While the prices are steep, they're good investments for schools looking for alternative ways to train their students in animal care, without risking the safety of live animals by having the un-trained complete invasive procedures.

It's hard to get over home some of the Rescue Critters look, and while they may be good for a laugh (and definitely not a gift for a child), it's important to remember the contribution they make to the animal kingdom.