psydoc18

10+ Year Member
Apr 25, 2007
17
0
Status
Attending Physician
How old were you guys when you knew you wanted to be a vet?

I'm third generation physician, my niece is about to graduate medical school (my brothers are much older than I am)
My 9 year old wants to be a Vet (which is wonderful!) I am well aware how hard it is to get into Vet school. she is very bright, she on her own became vegetarian to be 'kind to the animals' (we don't eat much meat to begin with and are a 'green/organic' type family.

anyway she rides horses a lot and works in the barn caring for them and knows a ton about horse health. As soon as she is old enough she is chomping at the bit to volunteer in an office.

At what age did you start volunteering places?
what kinds of things did you do along the way growing up?
I'm not one of 'those parents' I only want what she wants for herself, but i'd like to support her and help her get the volunteer experience she is asking for. She reads books on dogs/cats/horses for fun- more than she reads fiction.
She had the 'stomach' to watch them deal with a horse that had to be put down because of colic at the barn, and while she was sad, she was so mature about it and is very strict in caring for the horses, walking them until they are cooled down etc etc.
She'll muck out a stall but she won't clean her own room!!! LOL!!!
She's great with the dog too when he gets ice in his paw or brushing him, or he isn't feeling well etc. He will sit for her calmly.

Anyway any advice how to help and support her would be appreciative.
I don't think she is going to change her mind career wise.

thank you!
 

Kara31191

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jul 29, 2007
231
0
North Eastern MA
www.myspace.com
Status
Pre-Veterinary
I'm actually in High School. Since I was maybe, ten, I've bounced between musician and veterinarian as my two main interests are music (composition, production, voice, piano, guitar, (briefly) trumpet) and animals/science.

Well, I formally decided I wanted to be a veterinarian at 12 y/o when we raised our family's macaws. My macaw got sick from a baby cockatiel that had passed away (even though we quarantined) and ended up with psittacosis (We think. Not quite sure).

My vet said I could volunteer when her clinic was built and last year, at just before 16 y/o, I started. And it's been hard, stressful, frustrating, and annoying going and learning and sometimes messing up; however, it has been an amazing experience.

It's a great thing to be involved in and actively learning about people and animals. I am developing people skills, patience, concentration, self control, and working on clinical skills. I'm now a "technicians assistant". It's a made up spot when a teenager is doing a lot of the technicians duties, but with no pay raise. :laugh:

And all along this has been something so much better than what my friends are doing- retail at the local hallmark, walmart, market basket and hot topic.

Oh and one of the BEST things my parents ever did was putting me in charge of the animals. I learned to help handfeed a macaw at 12 y/o. I'd prepare it and help hold the bird while they were feeding. Then I got my own cockatiel (the one that got sick and passed). I handfed him all by myself after a while and I used to give two feedings. And he always got fed and I researche dlike crazy. I have a friend whos parents encouraged her by getting her a young cow to raise and bottlefeed (which was a lot of work for her), and she is the other high schooler at the clinic.
 

Habibti

10+ Year Member
Mar 6, 2007
143
1
Status
Veterinary Student
I think I was 20 when I knew I wanted to be a vet although I'd considered it off and on throughout my childhood. I'm probably a rarity on these boards.

However, I think I started volunteering, with animals or otherwise, when I was about 14. There are definitely things you can do with her if you're willing to volunteer with her, since 9 is a little young to volunteer alone. At our local humane society, kids can help their parents walk dogs, clean cages, socialize cats etc. I'm sure there are more examples of places where you both could volunteer, but this is one I could think up offhand. I'd say, for now, do some volunteering stuff with her. Let her pick what you do.
 

cateyes

10+ Year Member
Mar 22, 2008
117
0
Status
Veterinary Student
I've wanted to be a veterinarian since I was 18 months:D

It sounds like your daughter is already well on her way working towards her goal. Any experience that she can gain- riding, showing and barn work all count- is a plus in her favor. I'd say she should get a variety of experience- small animal, large animal, wildlife, exotics and zoos if possible, just so that she has as much hands on experience as possible. When you apply, they like to know that you have a realistic view of the profession. And just like med school, grades are a biggie.

I started calling animal hospitals when I was 7 :laugh: and the receptionist told me to call back when I was 14. I began volunteering at the animal hospital when I was 16 and they hired me a month later.

Volunteering at a shelter will get her some more experience before 14-15 years and will give her a working knowledge of animal restraint and care as well.


Just supporting her dream means more than anything. It means that she'll always have a person to turn to for help and that's really important.

Good luck and hope this helps!
 

rustysmom

Mich State CVM c/o 2012
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 26, 2008
175
0
Michigan
Status
Veterinarian
I took the long road to get here....

I originally wanted to be a vet when I started high school but I HATED high school chemistry and biology....unfortunately, my parents were no help - all they could tell me was "vet med is hard - look at all the debt you'll accumulate... are you sure you can handle it??? etc. etc. etc." I let myself be talked out of being a vet and doing IT instead :mad:

I was 31 when I decided to follow my original dream and start my pre-reqs.... and I am now 35 and matriculating this fall :D (even though my parents STILL are not supportive - in fact, my mom recently asked me if I should still work part-time at my IT job "just in case you can't handle vet school" :bullcrap:).

I think the biggest thing you can do for her is support her and help her. Volunteer with her and help her find places to volunteer (humane society is a good one; check with your family vet to see she can do anything). Also, encourage her to do non-vet stuff for fun (does she like to play a sport or instrument?). I play women's ice hockey and that actually ended up being a big part of my interview at Mich. State - my interviewers were interested in what I had learned as a team manager, how I got into the sport, and if I was going to play while I was in vet school....
 

pupsforseeing

10+ Year Member
Dec 26, 2007
267
0
Status
Pre-Veterinary
I started raising guide dogs when I was 12. I didn't really have the support/help of my parents, so that was the very youngest I could have been to be able to handle it. But, we have families with kids as young as 9 and 10 who are the primary raisers but get a lot of help from their parents. I have learned *so* much from puppyraising: discipline, dedication, sacrifice, communication (with both animals AND people), people skills, not to mention tons about training dogs! I seriously think that this is the single activity that has impacted my life most and contributed to the person I have become/am becoming. Just something to throw out there in case that's something that might fit your daughter's situation. If you'd like more info, feel free to PM me!
 

NittanyKitty

NCSU CVM c/o 2014
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 5, 2008
659
3
32
Raleigh, NC
psu.facebook.com
Status
Veterinary Student
I've also wanted to be a veterinarian since before I even knew how to spell the word. :D I've considered one or two other career paths along the way (human medicine being one of them), but knew that I pursuing this goal was what I really wanted. I started working at my local vet clinic when I was 16, which was the earliest they allow student workers there (it depends on where you live, I guess). I also was heavily involved in my high school agriculture department and was basically the go-to student for the animal science aspect. Was president of our FFA chapter and did some volunteering at a riding stable nearby and am now going after degrees in toxicology and animal science.

I would say just support your daughter in whatever she wants to do. My parents were always pretty supportive of my decisions, but as I neared application dates they started trying to push me along other more lucrative routes. That was frustrating, and I know they just want the best for me, but it's difficult to go forward when you worry about letting others down.
 

shuvball1

TAMU CVM C/O 2012
10+ Year Member
Jul 17, 2007
254
0
Status
Pre-Veterinary
My first word was kitty. I honestly can't remember not wanting to be a vet. I know that sounds so cliche, but it's true. :)
 

susiewaits

OSU CVM '13
10+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2008
97
1
Status
Pre-Veterinary
I was 9 years old, horses did me in :). My parents wish I would try medical school, but I think (they may still think I will change my mind) have finally given up hope and accepted that I want to go to vet school.

Support her however you can. When she is old enough, maybe ask the family vet if she could shadow him/her, thats the easiest way to start and move on from there
 

nyanko

total trash mammal
10+ Year Member
Sep 8, 2006
8,828
3,187
CoMo
Status
Resident [Any Field]
When I was a really little kid I was completely obsessed with dogs. I mean running around on all fours and barking at people obsessed. In our kindergarten "future professions" booklet from our graduation everyone else wanted to be a firefighter or an astronaut or a doctor or a singer and under my name it said "Wants to be a veterinarian because she loves dogs." However, my family were not "animal people" and when questioned they would basically just say "it's a phase, she'll grow out of it" so I had to go out and get my own exposure to animals.

We had an indoor/outdoor cat, because we lived in a somewhat rural/woodsy area and my mom was even less thrilled about mice than she was about cats. Behind where I lived was a horse barn, and my cousin and I used to go there and help the owners with the cleaning and in exchange they taught us how to ride the horses and stuff. I volunteered at the animal shelter starting when I was 14 years old, cleaning up the reception area and doing laundry, then was allowed to start actually working with the animals when I was 16. So even though animals weren't a part of my home life, they were always a part of my life.

Surprisingly, however, I never really bothered to look into actually becoming a vet, though it was always something I loved and wanted to do. Went to college, majored in English, hated it, switched to Computer Science because I thought I hated school and just wanted to finish and be able to get a good job, and I'm good at math and programming (though I don't particularly ENJOY them much) so CS sounded as good as anything to me.

I was in the summer of my junior year of my CS degree when I had one of those moments. You know, a sort of life altering epiphany. It wasn't any particular exact moment that I can remember, just sort of...a progression, I guess. I had moved up to Lansing, MI to live with my long distance boyfriend of 10 months, Jeff, (only for the summer between classes) and I needed to find a job. I ended up as a kennel technician at Petland (ugh, don't remind me), and strangely it was here, in this place where they sell overpriced genetic disaster puppy mill puppies, that I began seriously researching veterinary medicine. Meanwhile my relationship was falling apart because I was spending more time with people who understood my new goals and what I was going to do now. I suppose the turning point of the relationship, and what made me the most resolute about vet med, was towards the end of the summer. We lived in a no-pets apartment, but there was a husky puppy at work who was very sick. The owners of the pet store refused to pay for the emergency vet care that he needed (he had a very bad hookworm infection and was extremely anemic and dehydrated because of it) so I took him home and took care of him. I woke up every 2 hours and syringe-fed him water and pedialyte and cleaned up all the bloody diarrhea in our bathroom. Jeff thought I was insane. But the puppy lived, and I eventually ended up basically demanding to take him home from the store for the cost of half of the vet bills he ended up accruing. Now, me paying for this puppy's vet bills and taking him into our apartment for the last week of our lease was pretty much the straw that broke the camel's back for my relationship. We broke up as I was on my way driving back to school for the year. :laugh: I ended up rehoming the husky puppy with some friends of my family.

The very next semester I rearranged my schedule to fit in General Chemistry I and took a minor in Chemistry to go along with and finish out my CS degree, and then I moved to Florida, got in-state residency and got a second Bachelors degree to really start me on my way.

The moral of my extremely long-winded story is that your daughter is extremely lucky to have a parent who is supportive of her ambitions and goals, and I think that's all you really need to be for her right now. Maybe if my parents had been more supportive and accommodating I would not have ended up taking this long to finally get off my butt and do this. :laugh: So just be there for her and encourage her! :)
 

stick91

Oregon State CVM c/o 2013
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Apr 22, 2008
132
0
Corvallis, OR
Status
Veterinary Student
I was in the same boat, I would take my toy horses and wrap their legs and put them on regimens of stall rest and hand walking, hehehe. I have only vaguely thought about other career choices since I was a little kid but when it comes down to it I know that being a vet is the only way I will be happy. I've always loved science and animals and it seems like the perfect way to blend the two.

I didn't do a lot of official volunteering but I was fortunate enough to have a horse-crazy mom and was born into the horse world and was in charge of caring for my ponies/horses since I was about 8. I also did a summer camp at the local Humane Society, and they had opportunities to become camp leaders for slightly older teens which is a great way to get combined animal and people experience!

I'd repeat what every one else has said, just stick by and support her with whatever she wants to do and you've already got a large part of the battle won!
 

SoxGirl0407

UF CVM c/o 2012
10+ Year Member
Apr 24, 2008
7
0
Status
Veterinary Student
I wanted to be a vet forever, but in my experience, no one would really let me do much until I was 18... I got a volunteer position in a shelter at 16, which was good because my first experience was FAR from glamorous. Although lots of experience is great, a variety of experience is better and excellent grades and test scores are even BETTER. It's good that she's passionate, but remind her how important school is to get there too.
 

lailanni

c/o 2012
10+ Year Member
Sep 12, 2007
1,032
181
Status
Veterinarian
How old were you guys when you knew you wanted to be a vet?
20. Heh. Took me a little while to figure that one out.

At what age did you start volunteering places?
Also 20. As soon as I figured it out I was off and running.

What kinds of things did you do along the way growing up?
Many years of dance, piano, swimming, lots of school work. My mom was quite stern with grades so school was the top priority. Also lots of community service and volunteering.

i'd like to support her and help her get the volunteer experience she is asking for.
Because of OSHA laws I don't think any clinic will allow anything more than an occasional shadowing visit at this age. You may have to be present with her also.

Perhaps you could look into a 4-H program? They're made for kids, teach great skills, and give hands on animal experience.

Anyway any advice how to help and support her would be appreciative.
Foster a love of science. She's going to need it! Or at least a good comfort level with the sciences. The pre-vet coursework is essentially the same as pre-med. At this young age keep her interested in science. Encourage her to get high grades (by developing good study habits). Getting a solid foundation is the first step.
 

zpinkpanther

Still searching...
10+ Year Member
Dec 2, 2007
349
0
Baltimore
Status
Other Health Professions Student
I can't really pinpoint it, but I think I decided for sure that I wanted to be a vet when I was about 10 years old. The only other career I remember thinking about when I was a kid was marine biologist. I started volunteering at the local zoo (GREAT experience, and helped me get my foot in the door for future paying jobs) when I was about 12. I'm now 22 and I still volunteer there on Saturdays about month a month. My first vet job was as a technician when I was 16. She could probably start volunteering in a few years? I think that the zoo I volunteer at doesn't allow volunteers that young anymore, at least not if they're working with large animals. I was never a small girl (always 98th percentile of height in my grade), but I am a bit surprised that they let me work so closely with cows and horses and such at that age.

Anyway, enough of my tangents... good luck to her! Sounds like she'd be about class of 2025 (assuming she doesn't take any years off)? :D
 

carrbear21

U of Mn CVM c/o 2012
10+ Year Member
Dec 28, 2007
267
0
Minnesota
Status
Pre-Veterinary
It sounds like you have an ambitious young lady on your hands! :clap:

I never wanted to be anything BUT a vet! Most little kids dream to be actors or singers and I just wanted to help animals.

How old were you guys when you knew you wanted to be a vet? I first shadowed in a clinic when I was a senior in high school (a lot of places won't let you do things until you're older for liability purposes, at least that's what I ran in to). I grew up with dogs, and both had serious medical issues late in life which really made me want to help. Our first dog had an eye removed and was a "miracle dog"-- she survived so much and I credit that to the U of Mn-- her vet had given up on her. That for sure was when I knew-- and I think I was 8.

I have no experience with large animals or barns- I grew up in a suburb of St. Paul. I actually started pre-vet at UW-Madison when I went to college then had a few issues arise and changed my path (much to my parent's dismay). I DID find my way back though! 4 years out of college I'm starting at none other than the U of Mn in the fall! If it's meant to be it will be but she'll follow her dreams where ever they lead!

Feel free to check out the "Successful Applicant" thread-- that gives some idea of what people have done (most of it more in later years but you never know what you'll come across). Basically exposure is really good-- shadowing a vet, volunteering at the humane society or somewhere like that, working as a kennel worker once she's old enough or in a barn.

Best of luck and be sure to keep us posted!!!!!
 

Badger Girl

10+ Year Member
Feb 28, 2008
153
0
New London, WI
Status
Pre-Veterinary
I just decided yesterday that I want to be a vet. Haha just kidding. I have come a long way, though from what I used to tell people when I was little when they asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. My parents must have been really embarrassed, but I used to say that I wanted to work at Dairy Queen part time and have my own rummage sales. I had some lofty as a child!! :laugh:

My interest in veterinary medicine has always been there, however, my confidence has not. I struggled with the "I'm not smart enough to be a vet" notion because I didn't catch on to chemistry and physics in high school. I pretty much wrote off the possibility to be a vet until recently. I'm 26 now and taking pre-requisites which have been so far, so good.

My advice would be to continue to encourage your daughter and make sure she knows that anything is possible. It will be important for her to keep building self-confidence as she gets older, especially since middle school and high school can be a time when self-esteem takes a nose dive (for many reasons as we all know).
 

Hobiecat1642

U of M c/o 2012!!!
10+ Year Member
Apr 19, 2007
213
2
PA
Status
Pre-Veterinary
I think I always wanted to be a vet, but I was also not convinced that it was practical. I started working with animals when I was 16. My friends make fun of me because I've never had a job that wasn't with animals. High school is a rough time, I agree, and it's important not to pigeon hole your interests. Personally, I was an English major in college, and I loved it. However, I worked for a vet during that time, and I realized that I wouldn't be happy unless I pursued vet med.
 

handh02

Law of the Wild
10+ Year Member
Nov 2, 2007
20
0
Hong Kong
Status
Pre-Veterinary
I didn't realize until I was 22 that I wanted to be a vet, but had experience with animals ever since I was a young kid. My family always had dogs and cats and birds and hamsters and fish, etc. I also worked at a horse barn for a while when I was in high school, mucking out stalls in exchange for riding lessons, etc. If there is a 4-H program near you that she can get involved in, that is the best way I can think of to get young kids involved in animal care outside of having pets at home. I learned how to train my German Shepherd puppy there when I was 9 and it was both fun and informative! :thumbup:
 

VetMed555

VMRCVM Class of 2012
10+ Year Member
Dec 19, 2007
215
0
Bburg
Status
Veterinary Student
I think I always knew I wanted to be a vet, but didn't pursue it until I was 20. Long story short, I was going to be a dietitian and "give up my silly dream", but as fate would have it, I started working at an emergency clinic and after 2 months couldn't imagine doing anything else.

But when I was 5, I accidentally tore a beetle's leg off. I felt so terrible, and I remembered that iodine (popular antiseptic in Russia) would "cure everything"(--according to my mom, who used it on me all the time because I was accident-prone), so I drenched the poor bug in it, and then cried because it died.:( I really thought it would fix its leg:).
 

winkle1983

OSU Class of 2012!!!
10+ Year Member
Nov 20, 2006
67
0
Columbus, OH
Status
Other Health Professions Student
When I was in the 4th grade we all had to make a poster "Things about me". It had a picture of me at the top and 6 index cards that I drew and colored on. My favorite food was grapes...my favorite color was purple...and I wanted to be a "Vetrinarien" when I grew up :laugh: And I drew a lame-o picture of a very fat dog. I never wanted to be or do anything else...except this nagging dream to be an Olympic figure skater. But the vet thing is way more likely these days.
 

Truth74

DVM
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Aug 16, 2003
639
0
Champaign Illinois
Status
Veterinarian
5 years old after Mom put her foot down about bringing the "stray" neighborhood cats in the house.
Dad was allergic to a lot of things, but he usually took it better than she did when some injured thing spent a day with us while we figured out where to send it.
I think I had a run at police officer as a teenager, but I later realized that it wasn't really my dream. It was what people thought I should be doing. That's what boy scouts will do to a young girl's mind.:D
No really, I loved boy scouts. It was police explorers that was warping.:p

Give them room to feel out what they really want to do. Don't schedule her in to the point that she can't make a turn, if she wants to.
 

loo

Always Sleepy
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Dec 16, 2002
1,082
23
Where It Is Always Cold
Visit site
Status
Veterinarian
My first job was in the local vet's office. I was 15.

My first day on the job consisted of cleaning runs that had 32 sheep with diarrhea, a great dane that jumped through a window and bled everywhere, chasing a stud bull that broke out of the pasture, and vaccinating llamas (who drenched me with spit). All this and my first day of school was the next day.

Funny thing was I kept coming back...during college, after college, during my free time after work:love:

I don't know, it's just a part of me.
 

whitefang2012

Iowa State CVM '12
10+ Year Member
Apr 18, 2008
32
1
CT, NY, FL
Status
Pre-Veterinary
Umm...well that's a tough question. When I first started to talk...I convinced my parents to get a cat. At 4 I had decided i wanted to be an animal trainer (despite the unsuccessful training of our cat to jump through hoops). At 8, after learning about science, i decided zoologist was more up my alley. at 13, when i decided that medicine was also pretty interesting - i settled on being a vet (settled :laugh:). I was convinced of this all the way up till high school where i really fell in love with physics and momentarily waivered and wanted to be a mechanical engineer. until i realized that designing engines and exhausts was not the same thing as racing cars (i was a bit of a back-road racer in HS). so within a year i was back to my childhood dream and have trampled down the science class, vet volunteering (began at around 14), barn help (around 10), training dogs for fun and later instead of my allowance (HS), and so on and so forth.

it's interesting that there are so many people who decided in their 20's because from alot of the people that i say i wanna be a vet - they say that was their dream when they were little. but i guess it makes sense since i have learned alot about myself in the past 2 years...and i give you guys extra credit to make up all that time with classes n volunteering ur time n working around animals.

lots of dedication to get into the vet school!
 

david594

The-OSU CVM c/o 2013
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Aug 20, 2007
2,126
34
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Decided almost exactly a year ago at age 22. Was a couple weeks before graduation and I was comparing my job offers based on which state I would be living in(and what pets I could legally keep there) and how much time I would be traveling(thus preventing me from getting cool pets). Concluded I had no desire to work in computer science, graduated and proceeded to find myself a <$10 an hour job back at home to do while I finished up the pre-reqs to apply for vet school. Will be applying this summer.

I had gone back and forth during college about doing the coursework and applying to med school. Wishing I had taken the courses now.
 

BostonLvr

KSUCVM Class of 2012
10+ Year Member
Mar 24, 2007
91
0
Kansas
Status
Pre-Veterinary
I decided that I wanted to be a vet at 4 years old. I did a 1st grade project on "Why I want be a Veterinarian". I called the vet clinic myself and set up an interview with the vet.

Then in high school, I decided that I wanted to be an OBGYN. I shadowed an OB in my town and observed many births and surgeries. I eventually went back to veterinary medicine. I am still intrigued by human medicine and gynecology, and I am one of those rare people who thinks I could be happy as a human doctor too.

I began working at a pet store and volunteering at the zoo at 19 and at 20 began volunteering at a small animal clinic and participating on research with a veterinarian at the veterinary school.

Now, I am 22 and I start veterinary school in August!
 

ShelterGirl

UC Davis SVM 2012
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Dec 21, 2006
591
0
Bay Area, CA
Status
Veterinarian
When the thought of becoming a vet first crossed my mind: age 25
When I started actually working toward that goal: age 30

A love for animals and experience with animals is important. 4H is a good idea; many zoos and animal shelters also have summer programs geared toward younger children. A passion for learning is important - you have to stay current in any branch of medicine, as I'm sure you know :) Science is key as well.

Give them room to feel out what they really want to do. Don't schedule her in to the point that she can't make a turn, if she wants to.
I thought about becoming a musician, a chef, or an engineer. My family LOVED the idea of me becoming an engineer so I ran with it - wrong choice for me. It's great that she wants to do vet med right now, but allow her to change her mind if she wants!
 

RazorDoc2010

Mizzou 2011
10+ Year Member
Oct 1, 2006
379
1
Missouri
Status
Veterinary Student
Age when I wanted to SERIOUSLY become a veterinarian: 20, then I decided I didn't have that much time to waste if I didn't happen to like it, so I started volunteering then at an emergency clinic.

haha ShelterGirl, I often thought: what little kid grows up and says "I want to be a chemical engineer" I definitely have an appreciation for them now, just glad it's not me anymore!
 

twelvetigers

stabby cat
10+ Year Member
Mar 12, 2008
18,553
9,977
TTown
Status
Veterinarian
Lol, I just started typing here, and I wrote, "I've wanted to be an engineer since..." before I stopped and had a WTF moment. It's Friday of finals week and my brain is mostly mush. Heh.

Anyway, I've wanted to be a VETERINARIAN since about third grade. I briefly considered (in the way a child considers things) being an architect, but then I found out how much I liked science and hated math. However, I've been rather naive about the actual requirements and expectations of the application process. I wish my advisor would have kicked my butt in gear my freshman year by explaining all of the different things I would need and how my grades should look. But, I found out just under a year ago and have been kicking myself ever since.

As far as your daughter goes... everyone's suggestions have been great. I'm sure she will always love animals, but it will take time for her to learn if she loves veterinary medicine. There's plenty of time, and no reason to rush her into getting "experience"... just let her do what she wants for now, and keep your eyes out for opportunities that she might enjoy. At age 9, your college years and beyond are basically nonexistant besides the whole "what you want to be when you grow up" thing. :)
 

enchantingme2

OSU 2012
10+ Year Member
Jan 20, 2008
109
0
New Jersey
Status
Pre-Veterinary
I was a sophomore in high school when it just clicked that that was what i wanted to be. I started volunteering and shadowing at 16 (with a whole bunch of signed releases and stuff so I was completely liable) and then working at a vets office at 18. Wish her luck for me!
 

weirdhobo

UCD Undergrad
10+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2008
50
0
Orange, CA
Status
Pre-Veterinary
Around 11 y/o. Unlike most people here, my interest in veterinary medicine stemmed out of curiosity (I would for example freeze my dead fishes and dissect them later on), but it was only later on I developed affection towards animals and really started to appreciate them. I have only just now for instance become interested in cockatoos because of my friend's Sulphur-Crested cockatoo whom I have had the pleasure of having on my shoulders while playing poker the entire night (very smart and playful! I very much enjoyed his company) :p. Still a long ways for me though as I'm still only a high school senior and only just this past year got clinical experience. As of now I recently started to volunteer at a small animal/exotic animal hospital which I will be working at until college.
 

guppy73

Tufts V'13!
10+ Year Member
Mar 5, 2008
260
0
NH
Status
Veterinary Student
I've wanted to go the vet route since I was about 7 or 8, but I'm taking the long road. When I was little, I'd play house with my friends--never wanted to be the Mom or the baby at all, but the family sheepdog. I'd also play "pet shop" (of course, not knowing then what I know about pet stores now), where I was the owner and my friends were all dogs. :D I was the type who brought home baby birds, stray dogs and cats, etc., much to my mother's dismay.

I tried to volunteer at a local vet in high school but ran up against liability issues. Still, I read as much as I could about the profession and started pre-vet in college. At that point, however, I decided to take a step back and look into other animal-related careers as a Psychology major/Biology minor. No regrets there; I had an extremely rewarding externship in Animal-Facilitated Therapy, working with therapy dogs and speech-challenged individuals. I saw many people who'd been considered "non-verbal" open up to a dog!

After my bachelor's and a little time off, I did a 2-year vet tech program and found a job at a vet clinic, where I stayed for 3 years. I also took most of my last few remaining prerequisites for vet school. Then I stumbled upon a job opening at an area humane society, where I found my real passion and remain to this day--9 years later! While there, I've been everything from Adoption Counselor to Education Program Coordinator & Summer Camp Director to Vet Assistant. Through this particular facility, I've also become involved in feral cat spay/neuter days for the past 2 years and a networking organization for animal professionals for 6 years now. I hope to turn all of this into a career in shelter medicine.

Based on my experiences, here are a few suggestions for your daughter:

-Contact any area animal shelters, to see if they have any opportunities for kids. While many have age restrictions for safety reasons (minimum volunteer age where I am is 16), some do offer programs for those who are younger. We have a summer camp for kids from grades 2-8, and the kids help with daily chores, listen to presentations/demos from various individuals (e.g., K-9 police officers, Search-and-Rescue teams). Other kids have helped with fundraisers both within and outside the shelter, such as bake sales. Another area shelter has a junior volunteer program, in which kids can help within the shelter upon acceptance (based in part on recommendation letters from guidance counselors).

-Check out the website of any local vet school for activities such as Open Houses. Tufts, the closest school to me, has a great day in early September with everything from birds of prey demos to anesthesia videos--and table with an Admissions representative to answer questions!

-Tufts also has an Adventures in Veterinary Medicine program, offered each summer, for middle school kids to adults divided into sessions by age group. I did this program several years ago (the adult/college grad group) and absolutely loved it! I'm not sure what the minimum age is, but your daughter should be just about there. There is an application involved, and I imagine that admission is at least somewhat competitive--just like vet school--but this sounds like a great fit for your daughter. (BTW, they do have housing options if you're not local.) It's pricey but well worth it, IMHO.

Best wishes!!!!:D
 

168135

Guest
10+ Year Member
Sep 20, 2007
1,415
4
30
Status
Pre-Veterinary
I was 17 when I decided that I wanted to be a vet. Shortly before that, I had decided that I wanted to be a vet tech. I started searching for a place to volunteer and six monthes later, when I had started grade 12, I finally got a volunteer poisition. Once I started applying to universities, I realized that I wanted to try to be a vet instead of going to tech school.
 

designerVet

10+ Year Member
Feb 21, 2008
35
0
Urbana, IL
Status
Veterinary Student
I didn't believe in myself (or my brain!) to go for it. I earned my bachelor of Fine Arts, worked as a graphic designer for 4 years until at the age of 25 I decided that I was just NOT happy doing design. So I went for it. Loved animals my whole life, mom is a nurse (so there was "medical talk" at home a bunch), so it made sense!

I would say a HUGE aspect of earning your DVM and veterinary medicine is the meat industry and large animals. So, though I do eat VERY little meat, I had a lot to overcome if I was going to make it through the interview process.

I worked at a dairy and "got over" the fact that a retired dairy girl goes to be our burger. It was hard. But it made me stronger and made me a MUCH more well rounded applicant.

So good luck to your daughter. Obviously it takes a passionate person to do this. To go through the application process and the schooling to make about HALF an M.D. makes. So I would say that your daughter is half way there. Just keep your minds open and acknowledge ALL aspects of veterinary medicine. That will make it MUCH easier when the time comes for the "hard to deal with stuff"!!

PS I got offers to TN, KS, IL and was waitlisted (#9) at MN. All out of state for me. So I guess I did SOMETHING right! Illinois here I come.... :)