Tag Archives: volunteerism

Experience Summary: MU Vet [circa 2006?]

13 Jun

I volunteered 633 hours at Dayton Valley Veterinary Hospital. I was able to observe exams, diagnostics, and surgeries. When I was hired, my duties included: cleaning kennels, walking dogs, and maintaining the premises. I was able to observe exams, diagnostics, and surgeries during my time at Dayton Valley Veterinary Hospital.

We do not have certain duties at Noah’s Ark Animal Hospital. Everyone does everything. I do kennel work, diagnostics, reception, and anything else that needs done. I have been lucky enough to gain experience with small exotics and observe surgeries at my job.

thanksgiving milkingI helped care for dairy cattle being used in heat stress research. We milked the cows at 4 am and 4pm every day, which entailed sanitizing the milking equipment, milking, and re-sanitizing the milking equipment. I also helped feed, clean stalls, and bed the cows. I observed a biopsy while I was working with the project.

Dr. Greg and Terry Chapman took me to a hog farm to see the facility and observe the commonpig farm management practices. I was able to see the different stages of production as well as learn about waste management. I also went to Fisher Brother’s Hog Farm and toured the facility and observed the daily routine.

I worked as barn crew at Equine Medical Services, Inc. My main responsibilities were cleaning stalls, bedding, feeding, watering, and medicating the horses. I helped unload and load hoses in the trailers, caught horses for their pregnancy checks, and walked horses to paddocks. I also cleaned the six barns and maintained the facilities.

I spent six hours one Saturday helping Dr. Terry Chapman examine horses. We vaccinated the horses for West Nile Virus, Eastern & Western Equine Encephalitis, and Influenza (tuberculosis). The Coggins test requires that about 3 mL of blood is taken to analyze for Equine Infectious Anemia. I was able to actually pull the blood and vaccinate most of the horses we worked with that day.

At Noah’s Ark, we often get exotic small animals. I have force fed a chinchilla, trimmed bird nails and wings, restrained small and large birds, force fed ferrets, gave a turtle a baytril injection, and force fed a snake a pinky.

I volunteer at D-D Animal Sanctuary, where I help clean out tiger and panther enclosures. I have also bottle-fed a claf and fed an alligator among other odd-jobs. I have seen many different exotic species there and enjoy the experience I gain in a wildlife rehabilitation facility.

I was able to follow Dr. Sharp on his rounds at Charles River Laboratories, a research facility. He checked the feces of Cynomologus macaqus, Recess, and Marmosets to check for gastrointestinal problems. He changed food and prescribed medication as necessary. He also looked for gross lesions and possible research-ending health problems by the groups. I was able to remove sutures from a monkey and feed the monkeys graham crackers.

I also counted the 65 hours from my heat stress research listed in food animal.

I observed Dr. Minor working with wolves. I went to a private compound where wolves were used as security and helped her vaccinate many wolves. When one of the female wolves was very sick, she came to the veterinary hospital for two weeks. We gave the wolf supportive care and eventually euthanized her.

I worked on a dairy cattle heat stress research project. Rectal, tail-head, shoulder, and hip temperatures as well as the respiration rate of 18 cows had to be taken four times a day. Meticulous records on the cows had to be kept. The temperatures and respiration rates were recorded as well as the feed intake and output of each cow. I drew blood from under a cow’s tail.

I volunteered in the Organic Chemistry Stockroom mixing solutions, pouring chemicals into smaller containers, putting chemicals back on the shelves after labs, washng dishes, and checking lab materials out to students.

Hesitant to Use the Word “Resolution”

2 Jan

Because I’m serious about turning these dreams into goals, then habit and accomplishments.  This is not some starry-eyed hyped up New Years event.


Here is my PLAN to help me reach my aspirations in this next year:

First, I need a physical reminder of WHAT the goals are.  Because last year, I forgot all about my fitness goals, and subsequently did not do them.  At. All.  Yesterday Cool and I made “Beast Mode,” our health goals and the benefits of achieveing them, poster.  We hung it in the living room right next to the treadmill for reminder and inspiration.  We need to do a financial one and a love one next.  Then I’ll make a study one and a grad app checklist to easily refer to.

To help me have gratitude, think positively every day, and work on my social, I am starting a positivity jar.  I’ll write unexpected gifts, accomplished goals, beauty of nature, lol moments, good memories, blessed happenings on small scraps.  This will make me pay attention to all the good stuff.  And on a bad day, I can read them to remind myself it’s not ALL bad.

To succeed in turning dreams into accomplishments, you need a schedule and a timeline.  I already made my monthly goals to focus in on.  As part of that the day-to-day schedule is important:  Worry only 30 min/day, think of good things or 1 good thing 10 min/day, I need to write a post with a rough timeline before the semester starts back up.  I’ll probably write it today so I can practice it and adjust it for a week before I actually need to use it.

Break the big goals into managable chunks.  Here are the very first steps for each of my 2014 goals:

running 1Exercise:  Right now just get up first thing in the morning, change into running clothes, and treadmill for 1 mile before getting ready for work.  Once I can get ON the treamill consistantly, I can make some time goals.

Eating:  Drink 2 cups of water to take my vitamins (kills 2 birds w/1 stone), make Sela Ward 5certain to drink as much water as possible while I’m at work alone in the early mornings.

Gratitude:  Sit for 10 min and think of everything good, or why 1 thing is awesome for that amount of time.  Then, I can start saying at least 1 nice thing to Cool every day and 1 nice thing to another every day.

Sleep:  Go back to the 4AM and see if exercise and vitamins helps at all.  If it doesn’t (after a real trial) just wake up at 5AM and call it good.  Practice strict wake and sleep times this week, before school starts.

Money:  Save some Christmas money.

Volunteer:  I signed up on Facebook to get volunteer updates for my area, and Cool and I talked about doing star h-aidsome physical work for Habitat for Humanity.  Next, fill out the req. forms.  And later, I need to estabilsh contact with the hearing aid center.

Appearance:  I’m starting to wear earrings daily.  And it’s uncomfortable, so I’m trying Emma Watson darkNeosporin now.  I’ll look into some sort of cleaning solution if the Neosporin doesn’t work.  Maybe contacts on Wednesdays?

Grocery situation:  I wrote down some crock pot recipies/ingredients.  We’ll start going to the Grocery Outlet every Sunday morning.

Eyebrows:  Ugh–I can’t stand it.  But I’m only allowing 20 stray hairs a day to be pulled so I can let them grow in.  I’m telling myself that if I am patient, I might treat myself to a professional shaping to have a good starting point.

Eye contact:  I will try to look people in the eyes at least 5x/d to start.

And the last goal success method:  Write WHY each of these is important to me.  Which will be a future post.

Transformation: A Drop in the Bucket

29 Dec

How have my thoughts, words and actions contributed to the world?

solar systemNot as much as I would like.  I feel that as a part-time student, part-time employee, my time is stretched thin, and I’m not quite a giver to society.  Just selfishly trying to get by and survive.

I want to do more.  split planets

I would like to actually volunteer.  Which entails, getting a project, finding the time, then doing the legwork, and supersprayer celestial bodiesfinally showing up consistantly.

red saturnI am working toward a career where my efforts MATTER.

So, it’s a small post, but maybe the biggest requirements of any of them.  In 2014, I want to be a giving person and help others.


Volunteerism–That’s the Ticket!

27 Dec

Actually, that’s kind of the wrong word, because though I would be helping others my motivation is not purely altruistic.  And I think it’s crummy when people “volunteer” to write it down.  And no one should go around telling people they’re volunteering if they have ulterior motives or hope to gain something from it.  I guess being up front about what I’m doing is the important point.  I realize I’m not going for angel-status, here.  This is mostly for ME.  My endeavor is more like work.  Unpaid work.  Much like I do now at the vet hospital–I joke.  They do pay me a little.  So Unpaid Work–That’s the Ticket!

uphill battle

Because of THIS year’s botched scholarship attempt, I have been searching the internet at large for more opportunities.  Because of my undergrad loans, there is never enough money.  If I could get scholarship funding, that loan money that I still have to take out every semester, can be used to pay undergrad loan payments, instead of current tuition.  I hardly hope to cut back any more on employment hours, or stop working all-together.  Just make ends meet.  And maybe I could take a third class each semester–which would help this seem career entry seem less dragging.  Except, most scholarships are awarded to those who do a lot of community service.  They require a certain amount of hours (which I have) but they require them from the prior year.  Which in the last 5 or so years I do not have.  Probably not a single hour in this last 5 years has been devoted to helping others.  Sad.

Not only do I miss doing community service–I got 8 scholarships in high school, and all my volunteer hours didn’t hurt in getting those–volunteering can look great on school applications.  When it comes time to apply to the AuD and back-up plan of SLP grad school, along with the 4.0 GPA, service would look good.  I just have to remember not to let the service get in the way of the grades. Meaning, I have to do this unpaid work during breaks from school.

Which is ideal, really.  Because my program doesn’t offer any of the pre-reqs I need in the summer (or breaks from school).  And sure, I could take electives or classes through the community college, but not only would it be less effective excuse to miss work, that costs more money.  And not loan money either–not enough credits or a degree program to count as loan funding.  So volunteering could take up that time, which will still allow me to work part time.  And that saves my psyche.


Working full-time makes me stressed, depressed, and anxious.  I don’t like what it does to me, and I want to avoid those negative feelings without making huge life changes–which getting a new job would entail.  So volunteerism is my way out.  Besides, I feel if I’m not getting, and not eligible to get full-time benefits such as vacation, health insurance, and paid holidays, then why should I kill myself working those full-time hours?  It’s just better this way.

And I can help people.  As an aside to my own personal goals, I would actually be helping.  Maybe I can get more in touch with Spokane’s community, meet new people, or whatever.  Plus, I’m looking at volunteering for the V.A. and for the Spokane Public Library.  Both organizations I believe in, and as a bonus, both organizations having something to do with the Speech and Hearing Sciences.  Though that isn’t why I picked those places, they will allow me to get a glimpse of the types of people that I might be working with in my future field.  Volunteering will give me a view of future career possibilities–and that’s great.

Laurel's pics 122

So unpaid work is good, good, good from what I can see.  I can rack up some hours that will help me get the scholarships, build the application to impress, take time in the summer when I’d otherwise be working and going insane, and see my future.  Oh and help people.  I don’t see a problem with that at all.  Solutions.  This is the new me.

Guide to Vet Observation

23 Jul

Hello, pre-veterinary hopefuls–this advice is for you.

Getting experience in veterinary hospitals is IMPERATIVE.  You will need to know about this career you so covet.  A lot of kids, at one time or another, want to be a vet–but do you really know what you’re getting in to?  Maybe once you see it’s not all kittens and rainbows, you wouldn’t like it so much after all.  Also, you will need experience hours to put down on the application when you are applying.  Plus, admissions is so super-competitive that you will need to be as well-rounded as possible.  And finally, vet school can only teach you so much–so anything you learn above and beyond your curriculum will give you a leg up.  If you have not gotten your foot in the door, I suggest you do so.  Yesterday.  You can never start too early, or be too competitive of a candidate.

Talk to your local veterinary hospital, go to the humane society, join an animal-related club, even talk to the farmer/rancher down the road.  If you have already observed at one place–do not stop reading this post.  You need varied experience.  Vet schools want to see that you’ve worked in private practice, research, small, large, and exotic medicine.  The more, and wider your body of experience–the better candidate you will be.  Call, ask, beg, write letters, ask people already in the field, utilize your networks to get in the door–anywhere.  Once you get in at one, you will more easily get into others.  Job shadow, observe, volunteer, make a day trip, whatever–just get involved somehow.

*Just remember it’s the GPA that is ultimately THE most important factor*

Here are 6 tips for when you get in the door:

1)  Try to stay for a full day

Veterinary medicine is different every day.  That’s part of what makes it so wonderful and exciting.  So it really is difficult to try to schedule when you are likely to see the most interesting things.  If you are there for an entire day vs. a few hours, you will maximize your chances of seeing a variety of interesting things.  In between said exciting and interesting cases, refer to #3 on this list.  And as part of this one–bring you own snack/lunch.  You may or may not get an exact-timed, scheduled and timely lunch break.  And you certainly do not want to miss the most exciting thing of the day because you had to drive somewhere to pick up fast food.  Besides–when you’re on your feet all day and trying to remain engaged, do you really wanna chow down icky, fattening greasy food?  Bring in high protein food to help curb hunger pangs and maintain your energy throughout the long day.  But a lot of the time the boss will buy you lunch.  If they do–include it in the thank you card that I suggest you write in point #5.

2)  Expect to feel awkward and out of place.

You won’t know anything about the place you’re seeing on your first day there.  It will take time to build a re-pore, establish trust, and get into a routine.  This is expected.  Try to stay out of the way and avoid touching/interfering with things.  When I began volunteering at my local veterinary hospital in 5th grade, the great majority of my time was spent jumping out of the way of the volatile veterinarian. Firstly, just hang back until someone gives you the go ahead, and until you see what is normal around there.

3.)  Be interested!

Yes, you are feeling everything out when you first go to your animal-related experience.  This does not mean, stand there looking bored.  My biggest piece of advice is to maximize your time.  Take a small notebook in with you.  Ask questions!  The adults at veterinary hospitals love to feel important, impart their knowledge, and give advice.  Use this to your advantage and learn everything you can.  And you don’t just have to ask the vets and professionals.  Everyone there will have some useful tips to share.  You can ask the vets about the career, medicine, and veterinary school.  The techs can tell you day-to-day routines, animal care tips, and impart info on potential back-up career plans, and even the younger staff can tell you about the current pre-reqs, ins and outs of the application, give standardized test advice, and maybe even let you know how/where to get a (summer) job.

3)  Once you are comfortable–jump in and help.

With permission, observers and volunteers can file, run and grab things, clean cages, and help with light restraint.  Get in the habit of cleaning off counters once an animal is off of it.  It will just show some initiative on your part.  If you feel comfortable and confident–and the staff you’re working with is handling the big stuff–it’s OK to help.  Learning is multi-faceted and it will cement what you’re seeing and writing if you actually DO things too.  Just don’t get crazy and do anything over your head or without DIRECT supervision/permission.

4)  Compare–but in your head, not aloud–each place you observe.

Keep track of things you liked and didn’t.  Each hospital/place will have their strengths, tips, and awesomeness.  You will also see your share of struggle, weaknesses, and maybe jerks.  Write down what might work for YOU in the future, and things you should remember to avoid iwhen you’re the one running the show.  It’s OK to make private judgements.  But that is what they should remain.  Do not, under any circumstance bad mouth vets, practices, or clients you’ve encountered at other places–especially when going to a subsequent hospital.  It’s unprofessional, makes YOU look bad, and in this world of highly competitive veterinarians that often judge/bad-mouth each other without actually having seen anything in person–needs to stop.  Also, you don’t want to burn bridges.  And you never know what ties these people have to each other.  Veterinary medicine is an insular world.  To a lessor extent, don’t be the annoying newcomer that says, “But  ___________ does it THIS way.”  No one wants to hear it, and vets tend to bristle against change–especially coming from a new person they don’t know well.

5)  Write thank yous.

Your main goal is to learn about the veterinary profession, but your secondary goal in observing/volunteering is to garner support from people on the inside.  Whether it’s a future part-time job, letter of recommendation, or future veterinary partnership–or all of the above–a little appreciation goes a long way in fostering important ties.  If you are given the opportunity (and trust!) to get inside an animal related job, jot a quick thank you note to the hospital (or farm staff, or whatever relevant group of people).

6)  Move on

This is the part I was never that awesome at.  Because veterinary school wants you to both be well rounded and have a 4.0 GPA, after spending time at one place–go somewhere else.  Loyalty will only limit your knowledge (and references).  And getting a full-time job will not garner you more points from admissions, but less.  Right or wrong, they figure if you’re standing there with no responsibilities that you are learning more then if you’re walking dogs or cleaning kennels on the time-clock.  So after you’ve learned what you can, get into a completely different aspect of the animal world and learn everything you can (in a brief span) from them.

I guess I should mention why I am a person you should listen to.  My advice is sound:  I volunteered 633 hours at my local vet hospital, observed for 6 months at a large animal practice, helped vaccinate and Coggins test employee horses, and spent weekends helping at an Animal Sanctuary, and more that I don’t remember without looking it up.  I hope this helps.

My Response to Cat Tales Zoo

26 Oct

Dear Ms. Hunter,

Thank you for returning my e-mail.  I am writing this e-mail because I was very eager to volunteer at your zoo.  I was pleased with my visit, found the zoo-keepers informative and friendly, and badly wanted to gain experience within a zoo setting.  I was so impressed that I wrote your e-mail contact and gave a very good review on Yelp, not to mention several personal recommendations to my friends and co-workers.

Unfortunately, I have been confused and misinformed throughout my quest to volunteer at Cat Tales Zoo.  When I went to get the physical volunteer application there was confusion on the part of the keeper at the check-in gate, as well as those in the gift shop.  I had to wait twenty minutes for them to track something down.  As excited as I was to volunteer my time, I overlooked this.  The formal application did not say anything about letters of recommendation, let alone specify the preferred format for them.  Also, the (friendly) keepers that found the application did not mention the necessity of letters or what format such letters should take.
Though, my initial e-mail correspondence did mention letters were needed, I trusted the application more then a faceless internet response, because I did not know who was returning my first request for information.  When I turned in the application, which I completely filled out, including the required reference names and phone numbers, I was allowed to meet Brandi.  I am not sure of her title or qualification, bus she seemed important, and was confused why I did not have my three letters of recommendation.  Considering these were not specified on the application itself, or by the keeper who handed it to me, I found her attitude that I should have already known off-putting.  Still, wanting to gain experience in a zoo setting, I again overlooked the mis-communication and poor attitude towards me.  I knew my dedication and superior work ethic would win everyone over once I was admitted to a volunteer spot.  Wanting to get the letters in as soon as possible I asked Brandi for an e-mail address to send the letters to.  This would get them there faster, and let me volunteer sooner.  I would think if letters were not welcome in an electronic format Brandi would not have provided the e-mail address or told me what to put in the subject line, “Attn:  Margaret Hunter.”
Ms. Hunter, I found your response to my legitimate e-mail featuring my three letters (which I had in my possession because I had just finished my application to veterinary school), as well as an invitation to follow up with each of those letter-writers, disheartening.  Writing SPAM in a subject line is not only unprofessional and un-diplomatic, it is downright abrasive.  Instead of being treated like an enthusiastic pre-veterinary student wanting to help the zoo and wild animals within, I was treated as some sort of charlatan.  Saying you need ORIGINAL, signed letters implies that I forged my letters (I did not) and that I could not properly follow instructions (none were provided).  That whole communication made me disappointed to the point that it would not be fair to me, the zoo, or for the animals to volunteer my time.  Your consistent lack of clear communication, and, especially, your severe response sapped all my motivation to work for free at your zoo.  As such, I will not be mailing my letters of recommendation.  I suggest communicating expectations of volunteer requirements to your entire staff as well as making them clear on the application so that other hopefuls such as myself do not have to go through this same negative experience.  Thank you for your time.
7aurel 7ehl

Horsing Around [6-13-07]

1 Jan

I started volunteering at Cedar Creek Riding Center today. It was a good time. I had to walk beside the horse and hold the rider’s thigh so they wouldn’t fall off. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not really a kid person. I mean, kids are fine, it’s not that I DON’T like them or anything, but I don’t coo at them or say awwww, every time I see one. I’ve never really been around little kids. I’m an only child and I didn’t do much babysitting. My parents are the ones that deal with kids all the time.

Sarah and I were paired up with a 2 year old for the first hour. She had absolutely gorgeous green eyes! She had some trouble focusing, couldn’t talk yet, and was working on posture and strength. It was really cute, she liked bright colors and could hold the reins or pet the horse. She kept dosing off so we were trying to get her to look at the other horses or at her parents to keep her awake. We had to get a lady to ride the horse behind her so the girl could stay in the sitting position. The lady asked Sarah and me if we were in high school or college. We said, “actually we’re both graduated from college.” I always get a teeny bit embarrassed when someone thinks I could be young enough for high school! Just means I’m gonna be the youngest looking 40 year old ever!!! The little girl was adorable though.

The 2nd hour, we had an 8 year old down syndrome girl. She started out kind of saucy, not wanting to wear her riding helmet and wanting to get off the horse. The two words she knew best were NO and STOP. She also complained the blanket was scratching her legs. We got her off and they gave her a soft blanket. She was still a little ornery though, saying her helmet hurt and she wanted to go home. I figured she just didn’t want to wear the helmet and was tired. When she said she had to go to the bathroom–I was like, oh she’s a smart one! She’s getting off this horse one way or another. They took her helmet off to go to the bathroom and it pulled her hair. When she came back, they put the helmet on and she said it hurt. They traded helmets and she was fine!

After that, she was a LOT easier to work with! She was pretty good natured when she was comfortable. It’s funny, she knew what she needed the whole time–we just had to listen. The only other problem was she kept leaning towards her left (the kids were both lefties I think) which was the side I was walking on. The adults in charge would ask Sarah and me to put her back in the middle, and when we tried she would resist and yell “Stop!” I don’t wanna inappropriately touch any little kids, so we would just leave her leaning towards the left. I was using all my strength to hold her on the saddle. Finally, we stopped the horse and I told her she was slipping towards me. I said you don’t wanna fall off and squish me do you? I said, scoot over–and she did. I guess it’s easy to underestimate little kids, they’re reasonable (most times) if you just tell them why you want them to do something. We would ask her if she saw the little horse in the pasture and she said she did. I told her it was tiny-tron and she repeated it (very funny coming from her mouth) and she asked if that was the horse’s name. By the end, the girl was dancing, moving her arms, and humoring me with the woot-woot hand gesture! It was a good time. I’m pretty excited for next Wednesday.