Life at the animal house
The countdown is in full swing now: in exactly four weeks, there
will be a new set of graduate veterinarians and a bunch of novice
fourth year students in the clinics.
As I prepare to leave the classroom for good, I must also find a
new place to live. For the past three years of my veterinary school
career, I have resided at the Stevenson Companion
Animal Life-Care Center with three other veterinary students
and about 35 furry friends.
I still remember the first time I went to the allergist my first
year and I was filling out my admission form when it asked, "How
many animals do you live with?" I answered this question with great
enthusiasm: 19 cats, 16 dogs, and a llama with a bit of an attitude
problem. When the doctor finally came in I could easily tell when
he got to this question because his eyes got about three times
larger. The doctor gasped, "You live with 35 animals?!" I calmly
replied, "Allow me to explain."
The Stevenson Center is essentially a pet retirement home. When
animal owners pass away and have no one to care for their animals,
the Stevenson Center is there to meet that need. There are four
veterinary students who live at the center and care for the animal
residents by feeding and medicating these animals every morning and
night and caring for them on nights and weekends. It has been one
of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and now because of
the hectic schedule that fourth year students must navigate, my
term at the Stevenson Center is about to come to an end. There is a
lot I will miss about living there: the free rent, no utilities
charges, the staff that has become my surrogate parents, and, of
course, the animal residents that share my bed and have permanently
found a home in my heart.