the donkey

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So ive been trying to find an activity to take part in this summer. As an animal lover, I've always wanted to volunteer at the Humane Society. I've heard/read repeatedly to take part in activities that im passionate about, and i don't want to go do something just to fluff up my application. All this aside, however, this is crunch time for me, as i will be re-applying in June/July for matriculation in 2009, and i do want to improve my extracurriculars(there i go contradicting myself). Ive volunteered at a community center, a free health clinic, and also done some work with habitat for humanity. What do you guys think, would volunteering at the Humane Society be beneficial to my extracurriculars? Or should i find something more people-oriented to do? Thanks
 

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Would this be pretty much the only difference between last year and this year's applications? If so, and if you have gotten feedback from schools saying "get more clinical experience," you might want to consider investing your time with human patients. But if you clinical exposure is fine, then go for the Humane Society. I don't think it will really be beneficial, but it's something you might not have time for in the near future with medical school and residency. Just a note for interviews, I doubt it will come up, but you might want to have an answer prepared for why not vet school.
 

HIVdoc2b

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I volunteer teaching disabled kids to ride horses and was asked why not vet school. Obviously you shouldn't NOT volunteer at the Humane Society because of this, just be prepared for it to come up.
 
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the donkey

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yeah i figured the "why not vet school?" thing might be an issue
 

bioteach

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Do you have pets yourself? If you like working with animals and people, animal assisted therapy might be up your alley. My greyhounds are registered pet therapy dogs with Delta Society. We visit patients in hospitals. We go weekly to my local hospital and hit the med/surg ward, ICU, emergency room and waiting rooms. Its great patient contact and I get to work with my girls at the same time.

Most people have dogs, but there are a few cats in our Denver-based group as well as a llama and a blind guinea pig!
 

bodonid

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I used Humane Society, and I was asked why not vet med. I said i was interested in vet med, but more so in med.
 

the donkey

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bioteach, that sounds pretty awesome! i actually dont have a dog of my own, but i live with my brother, and he has a 1.5 year old boxer that would be awesome for animal therapy. think ill see if he'll "loan" her out to me for a few hours a week...
 

bioteach

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bioteach, that sounds pretty awesome! i actually dont have a dog of my own, but i live with my brother, and he has a 1.5 year old boxer that would be awesome for animal therapy. think ill see if he'll "loan" her out to me for a few hours a week...

Even if it is not with a specific program, alot of nursing homes, hospices, will let you come just on your own.

We are affililated with www.deltasociety.org and their Denver group www.denverpetpartners.org , but there are many others. Some hospitals in Denver have their own groups, so you actually get your certification directly through them.

I love animals and planned on going pre-vet in undergrad, but realized I just wouldn't be happy that direction. I'd rather deal with human medical issues and just come home to my pets at night. Since my background is in wildlife biology (studied animal behavior for my MS degree) and animal care (worked as a zookeeper, too) I had to answer the "why not vet med" at several interviews. I gave a few reasons at each that seemed to satisfy that question.
 

WildlifeSaver

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Even if it is not with a specific program, alot of nursing homes, hospices, will let you come just on your own.

We are affililated with www.deltasociety.org and their Denver group www.denverpetpartners.org , but there are many others. Some hospitals in Denver have their own groups, so you actually get your certification directly through them.

I love animals and planned on going pre-vet in undergrad, but realized I just wouldn't be happy that direction. I'd rather deal with human medical issues and just come home to my pets at night. Since my background is in wildlife biology (studied animal behavior for my MS degree) and animal care (worked as a zookeeper, too) I had to answer the "why not vet med" at several interviews. I gave a few reasons at each that seemed to satisfy that question.
I do things that are environment and animal related and also take classes oriented to wildlife biology. Like what did you say in the interview that you convinced them it was human medicine was your way and not animal med? What are or were your reasons. I would prob say one thing like I don't like that fact that you can't do everything to save an animal because its costly and along the lines their is more hope in human medicine b/c...or something like I like people more?? I mean it would be difficult to convince them and I know I will have to go through what you did. I also would point out I put myself in the position to expose my self to human medicine and people and I liked it more over the animal thing..Its a complicated thing. How long did it take you to think about it and tell them in an interview?
 

bioteach

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I mentioned things about how the science of both human and animal medicine interests me equally, but the practice of animal medicine is not my cup of tea. I don't agree (my own personal opinion, mind you) with drastic measures such as chemotherapy for pets. It is a miserable thing to put anyone through, and if they don't understand why they feel so sick.... I think alot of what people do for their animals is because they can't bear to have them die, not because they really want the animal to experience one more day of life.

I am perfectly okay with anyone else doing it (I would never tell someone I oppose chemo for pets if ol' Spot was just recovering from a round of it!), but I don't think I'd make a very good vet if I couldn't advocate for all the treatments out there.
 

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It is a miserable thing to put anyone through, and if they don't understand why they feel so sick.... I think alot of what people do for their animals is because they can't bear to have them die, not because they really want the animal to experience one more day of life.

Just wondering if you followed this same logic with pediatric patients who are too young to understand why they feel so sick? There no way that you can explain to a young child why they're having to go through the pain either.
 

bioteach

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Just wondering if you followed this same logic with pediatric patients who are too young to understand why they feel so sick? There no way that you can explain to a young child why they're having to go through the pain either.

No, I wouldn't. You also have to consider what is at risk if chemotherapy is not used. I'm sorry I was not exhaustive in my explanation, I just gave a brief synopsis. Its a matter of whether the costs ($$, suffering) outweigh the benefits (potential survival). In humans it does, in dogs (my opinion, sorry) it does not necessarily.

For example, I love my greyhounds to pieces. If my 12 year old 'hound was diagnosed with cancer, I'd rather just keep her comfortable than undergo chemo/radiation in order to let her survive another year or two. Much of that time will be spend miserable, if she ever recovers.
 

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One thing I found out about it that madness me and diminishes my hopes is seeing animals die for no reason. The other day I had to uthinize a mallard that was hit by a car. He stayed alive for a few days and looked pretty good to me, besides having dried blood on his nose. So, because of that sign a decision to kill him instead of trying to save him was made. I had to put him in a cooler and turn on a carbon dixoide tank (b/c our animal hospital can't have the controlled substance to uthinize/no vet there all the time and its costly). It killed me when I knew he was strong still and he was freaking out in the cooler. I never told anyone how I felt. That was the day I started really rethinking vet medicine. Why are people vets and just take the easy way out instead of doing everything we can to save a life as long as its really going to matter..Thats just one reason which is almost enough for me. If it was a child doctors would rush to think of ways to save him/her, but not a mallard or tiger or...A life is a life and a good MD once told me so as well.
 

Habibti

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One thing I found out about it that madness me and diminishes my hopes is seeing animals die for no reason. The other day I had to uthinize a mallard that was hit by a car. He stayed alive for a few days and looked pretty good to me, besides having dried blood on his nose. So, because of that sign a decision to kill him instead of trying to save him was made. I had to put him in a cooler and turn on a carbon dixoide tank (b/c our animal hospital can't have the controlled substance to uthinize/no vet there all the time and its costly). It killed me when I knew he was strong still and he was freaking out in the cooler. I never told anyone how I felt. That was the day I started really rethinking vet medicine. Why are people vets and just take the easy way out instead of doing everything we can to save a life as long as its really going to matter..Thats just one reason which is almost enough for me. If it was a child doctors would rush to think of ways to save him/her, but not a mallard or tiger or...A life is a life and a good MD once told me so as well.

Do you actually know the clinical reasoning behind the decision? Let me assure you, most vets would rather not 'take the easy way out.' No one goes into this dreaming of euthanizing every saveable animal. If they did, they would be going into the wrong profession.

The fact of the matter is that, sadly, there are monetary things to be considered. If there is a horse that can be saved with $6000 worth of surgery, but the owners can't afford it, who's going to foot the bill? A vet can't afford to give every semi-saveable animal every possible treatment. Does this mean money should be your sole decision maker? Absolutely not, but it is a factor.

Vets and MDs alike come home with regrets, the only difference being what exactly the gut-wrentching situation is. I guess it's about choosing which set of 'what ifs' and what guilt you'd rather live with.
 

WildlifeSaver

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Do you actually know the clinical reasoning behind the decision? Let me assure you, most vets would rather not 'take the easy way out.' No one goes into this dreaming of euthanizing every saveable animal. If they did, they would be going into the wrong profession.

The fact of the matter is that, sadly, there are monetary things to be considered. If there is a horse that can be saved with $6000 worth of surgery, but the owners can't afford it, who's going to foot the bill? A vet can't afford to give every semi-saveable animal every possible treatment. Does this mean money should be your sole decision maker? Absolutely not, but it is a factor.

Vets and MDs alike come home with regrets, the only difference being what exactly the gut-wrentching situation is. I guess it's about choosing which set of 'what ifs' and what guilt you'd rather live with.

You are very right about MDs and Vets both having to deal with regrets in their profession. I think I just have this thing about wanting to want to just-well save every animal that comes my way. Also, your point is valid that every vet can't go out of their own pocket to save a animal and owners of pets a lot of time can't afford the care.

I remember myself not being able to pay $600.00 for a 4 week old kitten to stay over night at a clinic about a year ago. They kept on insisting they take the kitten and I kept on insisting to give me the medicine and I will take care of him the best of my ability. I told them not to do so much to the kitten when I brought him there before talking with me, but they did of course.. I think they got pissed and thought I was some heartless dumb person and I wound up paying exactly what I said I could afford at the beginning of the visit. They wanted to get every penny out of me like it was revenge (I know that sounds dumb and childish, but I think so still to this day) or something. I was sort of mad though, because they were going to ridiculously over charge me for a very small, very ill baby kitten. I knew he was going to die before I even took him to a vet, but I wanted to make him more comfortable (getting oxygen). He was sick with a respiratory infection and I knew it days prior to taking him to a vet. I have seen this before as a child with my cat having kittens (got her from a shelter when she was pregnant) and she was under health and of course as a child I saw one by one die every day, sometimes in my hands. I have a lot of emotional type of experiences that drive me to want to be a vet, but of course countless others as well. Your first experiences as a child with emotional bounds to animals are the most dramatic. The first losses are always the hardest even when you lose someone close in your life.

Have you ever felt that intense instance shoot through your veins in an emergeing situation to make a difference right away? Mine was with the kitten that turned blue in the face and I knew equipment existed to drastically make a difference before suffocation, but I couldn't do anything about it because I was a little kid and I wasn't a doctor.
 

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I'm a little different than most people that want to be a vet, in that I didn't come to the decision early in life. I had considered it when I was in high school, but then proceeded to change my mind quite a few times before I met the research beagles that convinced me that I wanted to be a vet.

I worry that someday I won't be able to deal with those tough decisions and the guilt that's associated with them, but I'll have to find a way, since this is what I want to do with my life, regardless. As I've heard, it'll never get easier to euthanize a saveable animal and the day that it does is the day you should quit.

I just wanted to mention a few ways that other vets have dealt with the issue of euthanizing saveable animals.
I watched a presentation at school about 'doing well while doing good'. Basically, the premise was that you can make a lot of money by doing good things. There are vets that work in the intercity, providing low cost veterinary care to a huge number of animals that aren't often seen by vets. I think the guy was bringing in millions of dollars and, no, he doesn't have to turn people away due to their lack of funds (he's got a non-profit organization set up that helps fund this). It's not like he's not providing good veterinary care either; they perform complex surgical procedures and the whole nine yards. Now this isn't common, but if you were willing to look for something like this, you can do good for a huge number of animals. Or you can do it in your spare time to re-coop from the crappy things you might have to do at work. Just something to think about.

Other vets volunteer in their spare time, to prevent burn out. There are a lot of vets that work with rescue groups/humane societies, providing the veterinary care for free.

Either way, perhaps talking to vets or doctors about how often emotionally draining situations come up, and how they deal with them. Perhaps you could discuss the instance of the duck with the person responsible for making the decision.
 

WildlifeSaver

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I'm a little different than most people that want to be a vet, in that I didn't come to the decision early in life. I had considered it when I was in high school, but then proceeded to change my mind quite a few times before I met the research beagles that convinced me that I wanted to be a vet.

I worry that someday I won't be able to deal with those tough decisions and the guilt that's associated with them, but I'll have to find a way, since this is what I want to do with my life, regardless. As I've heard, it'll never get easier to euthanize a saveable animal and the day that it does is the day you should quit.

I just wanted to mention a few ways that other vets have dealt with the issue of euthanizing saveable animals.
I watched a presentation at school about 'doing well while doing good'. Basically, the premise was that you can make a lot of money by doing good things. There are vets that work in the intercity, providing low cost veterinary care to a huge number of animals that aren't often seen by vets. I think the guy was bringing in millions of dollars and, no, he doesn't have to turn people away due to their lack of funds (he's got a non-profit organization set up that helps fund this). It's not like he's not providing good veterinary care either; they perform complex surgical procedures and the whole nine yards. Now this isn't common, but if you were willing to look for something like this, you can do good for a huge number of animals. Or you can do it in your spare time to re-coop from the crappy things you might have to do at work. Just something to think about.

Other vets volunteer in their spare time, to prevent burn out. There are a lot of vets that work with rescue groups/humane societies, providing the veterinary care for free.

Either way, perhaps talking to vets or doctors about how often emotionally draining situations come up, and how they deal with them. Perhaps you could discuss the instance of the duck with the person responsible for making the decision.

Yeah, I see what you are saying. There are more positive things to look at then the negatives in to me when looking at vet medicine. I guess you are right, how can it being easy to put an animal down that is salvageable? I will address this at some point, but for now I don't want to seem like I am not cut out for something or don't understand. I just show no emotion during those emotional situations.
 

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I'll second the vote for pet therapy. I did this with my dog for three years and talked about it in one of my application essays. It was tremendously enjoyable and rewarding - for me, the patients, and the dog. :thumbup:
 

bioteach

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I'll second the vote for pet therapy. I did this with my dog for three years and talked about it in one of my application essays. It was tremendously enjoyable and rewarding - for me, the patients, and the dog. :thumbup:

I described it in my personal statement and just about every interviewer mentioned it. All the interviewers seemed really interested in the idea.

It sure gave me much more patient contact that volunteering in the emergency department. Sometimes I would spend up to 20 minutes or more in one room just chatting with the patient.
 
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