I have wanted to be a veterinarian my entire life, though I was never able to say with much certainty what I wanted to do. It has taken me nearly three years to clarify my ambitions for the future, and I cannot be more excited with my current plans and career goals. I have worked and volunteered at the Animal Rescue League in Des Moines for the last two years, working full time during the summer months.
Originally I sought out the job to gain animal handling experience, and to hone my clinical capabilities. I had no idea that this would change the way I view veterinary medicine and my role within the profession. The shelter atmosphere is unique in its broad functions and often limited resources. In just the short amount of time that I worked at the ARL, I saw the complexities and startling realities of lost and abandoned pets, adoption/education programs, exotic animals, abused animals, court cases, animal legislature, wildlife rehabilitation, population management, surgery, and animal behavior. The list goes on and on, presenting endless needs and just as many opportunities for creative solutions.
Shelter medicine is becoming more respected and valued within the veterinary profession. This shift in mentality will open the doors for change, and I want to be a part of that change. The impact of high quality shelter programs is becoming clear, and veterinarians play the crucial role in making this a continuing reality. I have witnessed first hand the need for resourcefulness, ingenuity, and passion when organizing and maintaining a successful program. I want to play a life long and influential role in the growth and planning of strong, effective, and trustworthy shelters for the future. I look at the possibilities, at the overwhelming challenges and diversity in this field, and feel confident this is the place for me!
I would like to establish my career in an animal shelter, though I am not, at this point, certain where or what type. Initially, I want to pursue comprehensive sterilization, educational, research, adoption, and rescue programs, and hope my path develops from there. I certainly have much to learn, and am very excited to use this opportunity in my fourth year, to work with established and effective shelter programs. I want to meet shelter veterinarians from across the country who have found ways of implementing their education and passion. I am anxious to expose myself to the many theories, beliefs, and practical applications of shelter work, especially those that differ from the ARL, as this is my sole shelter experience at this time. I hope to be inspired, and I look forward to seeing all of the many possibilities within the shelter context.


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