Entering the brightly lit exam room, I was overcome by the sound of deep crying. After 13 years, the last two spent battling heart failure, Jesse’s frail canine body was ready to give out. The final injection completed the task. Seeing his mother’s tearful face, I tried to meet her gaze, hoping to make things more bearable. I wanted to help and had always imagined veterinarians saving lives. This was my first exposure to euthanasia, and I just learned that medicine cannot always prevail. Instead of being deterred from the field, I found myself wanting to do more to empower clients to be in control of their pet’s health.
I had always wanted a career in veterinary medicine since it combines my interest in science and problem-solving with my love for animal welfare. My home growing up was a mini–Noah’s Ark. I saw it as my duty to provide each pet with love and care, which meant familiarizing myself with each species’ unique needs. I found innovative ways to ensure their well-being, such as making precise schedules for a dog with congestive heart failure, a cat with allergies, and a cavy with bumblefoot.
As I volunteered at animal shelters and rescues, my confidence grew stronger. When I later became a vet assistant, I immersed myself in learning all I could about small and exotic animals. Initially, I shadowed the duties of a private practice vet in both calm and stressful situations. But quickly, I found myself working with a team to draw blood, restrain animals, run diagnostic equipment, read cytology slides, and assist with emergencies. I did what was directly needed within the active clinic, but I was drawn to interactions concerning senior animals. When I observed how vets discussed a pet’s quality of life and the possibility of euthanasia, I noticed how euthanasia was emphasized as the last act of love. The decision to end a pet’s life is difficult, and it made me consider what I could do to improve their lives before it became the only option.
Witnessing countless senior pets return for med refills to treat arthritis, pain, and other age-related conditions, as well as my experience assisting with euthanasia, I recognized the need for a shift in the management of the aging process. I was drawn to animal physical therapy, and it is my goal to be certified in canine rehabilitation. Meds provide short-term relief, but movement and exercise can provide pets with strength and mobility to maintain independence with less pain as they age. Thus, my goal is to help improve pet quality of life while also empowering clients with the tools and education to continue home treatment. This care extends to the pet’s last breath, where I can further educate clients about humane euthanasia to relieve their pet’s suffering. Jesse was the first euthanasia I saw, but since then, I have assisted countless others. Each time the grief is no less real, but as a vet, I can work with clients to develop a care plan that supports animals from their first breath to their last.
Considering my career goals, I have been fortunate to attend La Roche University because it provides me with a strong, solid foundation in biology. My pursuit of a bachelor’s degree with a biology major and chemistry minor captures my dedication to my studies. La Roche University is preparing me for the rigorous classes I will take in veterinary school through challenging courses in the Honors Institute, as well as granting me access to knowledgeable professors and faculty in their fields. I am learning critical thinking and problem-solving skills through labs and other hands-on experiences. I am learning to manage my time and master complex material by taking a variety of courses outside the biology department as well, such as business management, ethics, and psychology. I am learning to adapt to different environments because, in the real world, different situations require different skills and approaches. Furthermore, through interactions with students and professors, I am learning how to effectively communicate in ways that will prepare me for conversations with clients and the veterinary team. My studies at La Roche have been significant for my personal and professional development. For instance, I actively engage in each class, taking advantage of the professor’s office hours. I take initiative and begin assignments early. I hold study groups and utilize active recall to learn the material. My time management is ideal, so I come to class fully prepared. I take pride in my 4.0 GPA and have proven to be trustworthy, hard-working, flexible, and dedicated.
Hence, the knowledge I have gained throughout my education has allowed me to feel confident beginning veterinary school at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine in the fall 2023! I hope to use my talents, insight, and experiences to serve creatures, great and small, and to become better for myself and for the world.