LIVE ANIMALS, and Why They Keep Us Sane

There are days/weeks/months when it really can be hard to “find the joy,” as we say here at the vet school. It can be a struggle to see through the mountain of assignments, tests, quizzes, and looming finals dates. It can be difficult to find something that really does make you joyful, because, though we all love to be here, and we all want that coveted DVM after our name, often, school is the place we go to Stress. Out. This means that when there are opportunities to find the joy during the school day, things are that much more enjoyable! Recently I had a rotation for my correlates course that required us to head out to Aggieland Humane Society and perform a physical exam and a couple of vaccinations on some cats that were housed there. My group of three had two tomcats and one pregnant queen. Though we all had something to do with an exam of all three cats, each of us was “assigned” to one specifically. I was assigned the pregnant queen. And, let me tell you, after all of the embryo and reproductive physiology we’ve learned this semester, I couldn’t have been more excited to see an animal inside whom all these complicated processes were occurring. This particular kitty was only about 7-10 days from delivery, and we were able to feel all the bony angles of the kittens within her when we palpated her abdomen. It was pretty amazing to say the least.

In the time I’ve been a student here, I’ve also come to cherish even more the times I have with live animals at home. My puppy dog, Lulu, is always happy to see me when I get home, and even though she’s a little crazy, she certainly keeps me sane on the days when I drive home dreading the amount of work that I have to do when I get there. Lulu also served as my “palpation quiz dog” last semester when we had to bring volunteer animals for our small animal anatomy class. Currently, she is scratching her booty on the carpet by rolling upside down and making hilarious faces at me. It is these animals I look to when I need to find the joy. These experiences that I crave when I need to be reminded why I want to be a veterinarian in the first place. We need live animals, especially in this first semester, and we need animals in the world in general. Without these adorable little buggers, we wouldn’t be as strong as we are, as determined as we are, or as fulfilled as we are in our jobs when we finally do graduate and enter the working world. I love animals, and sometimes a reminder is all I need to keep me sane and motivated. These are the lives that I advocate for and the reason I am doing the work that I do. I am a lucky, lucky girl to be where I am today, no matter the amount of work it takes.