Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Good Life



Is it strange that I am happier than I have ever been in my life?

It's been a hard year...a really really hard year, the hardest year in terms of what I've lost...but I'm moving forward...

School, honestly, couldn't be going better. I had a chem exam that I was pretty stressed out about last week...I actually ended up with a 100%. Craziness. I never really anticipated being very good at chemistry, but I kinda love it...kinda blows my mind (a very good lesson in not underestimating yourself, you can do whatever you want with a little hard work!). It definitely made a good end to the week and has definitely allowed me to enjoy my spring break all the much more...

I've been working all week and I've enjoyed every moment. I've never had a job that I jump out of bed every morning, excited to get to, but my boss is amazing, my co-workers are awesome, and the patients and clients teach me something new every single day. It makes me so incredibly happy and so excited for the future.

Yesterday, was a crazy surgery day and then I finished the day out by driving down to the farm and helping Dr. J with the rehab on one of her horses. So yes, there's some horses in my life again! I spent several hours on Sunday at the farm helping out and grooming some of her guys and it was truly good for my soul. I have never regretted the decisions I made, but that doesn't mean there isn't a pang of sadness for what once was...

 The experiences I've had thanks to that incredible veterinarian are worth more than words. It's such a gift to have someone in my life who gets this dream and gets me and wants to see me succeed. I love my family dearly, but their understanding of my dreams is so rudimentary. It's freeing to be seen as some one other than just the crazy girl who loves animals. It's good to be this happy.

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After work on Monday, I was parked at the gas station and a truck pulls up next to me. "Hey kid!" I turned around and J was right there! He went and parked and then we talked for awhile. I haven't seen him since the end of December...it's just too sad to go up to the barn...even though I've had a lot of people try to get me too. But anyway, J asked what I was doing home and I told him I was on spring break.

"Have you given up the vet school thing, yet?" He asked.

 I told him that I hadn't and that I knew that this was exactly what I was supposed to be doing.

"So, I guess your going to be poor like the rest of us...you really should rethink medical school." He joked.

 I just smiled and said "Well, the way I think about it, do you think most physicians become physicians because they love people?"

"Well, no, probably not."

"But veterinarians...how many veterinarians do you think become veterinarians because they love animals?"

"Well, probably all of them."

"Exactly," I said. "The difference is the same as that which is between night and day. I don't have to be rich to be happy, but I do have to do something that I can put my heart and soul into. Above all else, that it what is important to me in life."

"You know, I think you're going to far, kid," he added.

"I really hope you're right."

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lessons In Compassion



I bet every single one of you who reads this post loves animals in in some way. You probably wouldn't be reading this if you didn't, because I don't really talk about much else...in one form or another my whole life is animals (even if right now it's mostly just textbooks).

Compassion for animals is a beautiful quality because there are many people in the world who don't care. But it's unfortunate that sometimes that compassion for animals doesn't get translated over into compassion for fellow human beings...

I see it again and again and again. The picture of the skinny cat on Facebook, the lame horse standing in a field, the intact female dog your neighbor owns. People look at that animal and immediately make the ASSUMPTION that some horrible excuse for a human being hasn't been feeding it or has been abusing it or isn't responsible enough to have it fixed, and sometimes they are right, but many times they are as wrong as could be.

That skinny cat really just has a tumor and the owners have spent incredible amounts of money on surgery and chemotherapy drugs, trying to get him a couple more months...

That lame horse is a pasture ornament with chronic osteoarthritis. His owner is on a first-name basis with the veterinarian and lies awake for hours at night worrying about him and his quality of life...

That intact female dog actually came from the animal shelter, but she's also 12 years old and her health issues make her a high anesthesia risk. The owners adore her and want to give her the best life they can, whatever time she has left...

My point is, that you have no idea what is going on in someone else's life. None. Zero. Zip. Sure, they could be the crappiest human being on earth, but maybe, just for five minutes stop and consider the possibility that not everything you think you know is what is actually the truth.

I know for a fact that animals are neglected and abused every single day, so please don't take this post as some naive view that I have of the world.

My only point is, that a little compassion can go along way...you might just realize that the world isn't as bad as you think.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Fail Friday

This popped up on my Fbook feed a couple weeks ago...it was posted in one of the tack groups that I am in. I seriously laughed so hard when I first saw this because I SERIOUSLY thought it was a JOKE. Ummmm...except it's NOT...the WORST part is that a whole bunch of people were commenting about being interested. This has just totally fried my brain...I.Just.Can't.Even.Understand. WHY??!! #onlyinWV


I must also add that this whole thing is actually ILLEGAL in the state of WV, where no one but a veterinarian or an RVT (under the supervision of a veterinarian) can work on a horse's teeth...but you know,details! Laws are overrated! Why pay someone who actually understands the anatomy and physiology of the horse's mouth when you can "roughly scrape his teeth" yourself?! Geesh.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Friendly Reminder To Not Be A Jerk


I have this class this semester that is kinda cool (let's be real, all my classes are cool...well, except for Stats...yuck)...it's basically a prereq to the professional internship class I intend to take next semester. But the cool thing about this class is that it taught by a DVM...a really cool DVM that I actually really like. He's a nice, compassionate guy and he's really involved with the state veterinary board and the veterinary school contract program for WV. And the class is super small so it's great. I get a taste of vet med once a week while I'm at school and therefore not working, which keeps me sane while my world is full of chemistry and physiology...and for a lot of people who take this class, it's their first taste of vet med period, so it's good learning experience for those who are still trying to figure out if vet med is for them.

Anyway, we spend most of our classes at his clinic these days. We've done a lot of different things, but today was cat spay/neuter day. Fun! I enjoy Professor DVM as an instructor...he likes to joke which keeps things relaxed but he's also super intelligent and more than willing to field questions. He's a good vet.

So today, we had a hand-on lectures on aseptic technique and anesthesia and then he neutered one cat and spayed the other. A good break from the monotony (and with Spring Break being only next week...the struggle is getting real).

Well, one of the girls in this class got really light headed...she'd never watched any sort of surgery before and that is a completely normal reaction for a lot of people. Nothing to be ashamed of, and Professor DVM told her so, he instructed her to just sit down. So she did, no biggie. A lot of people think of spaying and neutering as so common (and obviously it is) that they don't realize that a spay is actually pretty invasive...if the same procedure ("ovariohysterectomy") was done in humans, it would be considered major surgery, but like I said, it is done so routinely in vet med that people don't tend to think twice about this...My point  is, this girl's reaction wasn't exactly something out of the ordinary, though I think she was embarrassed.

So we were leaving today, and I'm walking out with another girl from the class and she starts bad-mouthing the girl who wasn't feeling well. She was just being a complete b****, and it really bothered me that this girl needed to be such a heartless snob. But the fact is, this isn't exactly uncommon. Maybe it's just the overly-competitive nature of people entering any sort of medical field, but for god sakes it doesn't always have to be a competition. Save it for the vet school interviews, peeps. My favorite vets in the world, my role models, are compassionate and kind and understanding and are able to connect with people. The moment you start lacking humility is the moment you are no good to anyone. When it comes to any medical field, and I don't care if you are veterinarian or technician or a physician or a dentist or PA or an RN or whatever, being an arrogant jerk is nothing but an unfortunate waste.

Damn it, I promise to always be better than that.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Spring...It's coming:)

It's sixty six beautiful degrees out and I'm wearing shorts. It's wonderful...especially considering only two weeks ago, we got ten inches of snow and classes were canceled for two days. I love it and it feels good to enjoy the outdoors again.

This weekend, a mutual friend of my roommate and myself decided to come stay with us for the weekend. My roommate has managed to stay in touch with this person, and while I have known her since we were both really young, we haven't stayed in contact nearly as well. Despite this, we picked back up right where we left off and it was a super fun weekend of reminiscing and laughing.

We decided to go to Cooper's Rock State Park yesterday...despite it only being about 25 minutes from where I'm currently living, I have not been since I was a child. We all wanted some fresh air, so we agreed it would be a fun outing. Well, when we got there, we discovered the main road up to the outlook was still closed for the season...of course it was my suggestion just to walk the three miles up (and back;).

So we did and I loved every minute of it! We were muddy as heck by the end of it, but I needed some fresh air and a break from studying! The view is even better than I remember...I truly do live in an absolutely beautiful area of the country...

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

I admit, hiking those trails made me kind of sad...first spring in a long time I won't be out exploring with The Mare...or any horse for that matter...

But on the bright side 1) spring break is next week! 2) I officially have a (new-to-me) car that is 100% paid for after a crap ton of savings over the last 15 months, so that is exciting and one less thing to worry about! 3) I'll be back in the clinic all next week and I CANT WAIT...it's been a LONG three months and finally 4) classes will be over for the summer in only a month and a half...where has the time gone?!

Life is different, for sure, but onwards and upwards we go!

P.S. anyone thinking about going to Equine Affaire? I can't decide if I'm going. If I do, it will only be Sunday because I would love to go for the Jane Savoie clinics, but I'm not sure if I feel like driving to Columbus or not...I'm bummed because I was supposed to go to Rolex with a bunch of friends but they are going all four days and I can't miss that Thursday and Friday...I guess I could drive down by myself but ugh I'd don't know...decisions decisions...
  
  

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

What You Think You Know About Animals Shelters Is Probably Wrong...



 If you are anything like me, you love animals and would love nothing more than to live in a perfect world where all animals have wonderful homes with wonderful lives where they are loved by a big family with little kids that play fetch with the dog and let the cat sleep on the end of the bed at night. It's such an idealistic view, one that isn't reality and probably never will be. It's terrible and makes me so upset, but it is the reality of the world be currently live in.

County animal shelters get a lot of bad rap, mostly because many of them do euthanize animals. The idea of a "kill" shelter gets people all worked up and often words like "heartless" get thrown into the mix.

Now, there's definitely some shelters with some issues (I can think of a couple in my area off the top of my head), but I think, for the most part, this idea of shelters being the bad guys is unfair and is mostly due to people not understanding...

Let's get one thing straight, right off the bat. Shelters exist because of irresponsible pet owners and because of a large excess of animals that do not have homes.They are necessary and probably always will be. If you want to criminalize someone, let it be the owner who doesn't spay or neuter their dog and allows their female to have 13 litters of puppies. That is NOT the shelters fault. They are trying to manage an unmanageable problem, one that is nearly impossible for them to get ahead of.

Secondly, the other major misconception is that "no kill" shelters are better and are doing more for animals than the open county shelters. This, in most cases, could not be farther from the truth. The FACT of the matter is that "no kill" shelters can only exist if there is also an open "kill" shelter in the county. "No kill" shelters have the luxury of turning animals away, that is why they never have to euthanize an animal. Your local county shelter has to take them all. Many of these shelters are doing the best they can with limited dollars and limited resources.

You'd be surprised to know that shelters are often staffed by some of the most compassionate animal lovers in existence. The supervisor of the shelter in the county where I attend school is absolutely AMAZING. Truly, a compassionate person...as are the dog wardens in the county. And trust me, the shelter is not anything fancy but they do the best they can for the dogs and cats that come through. They save every single animal that they feasibly can.

The saddest part, to me, is the cats. They break my heart. In a lot of areas, the cat "problem" is so so so bad and, of course, people just continue to dump them. There simply aren't enough homes and many places do not have laws or funding to support cats in shelters. It's sad, but true, that so much of it comes back to money.

I do a lot of volunteer work, both with the county shelter and the local non-profit spay/neuter assistance program (such an AWESOME program, I might add!) and I see the reality of it constantly. It's a lot to emotional deal with because I care SO much and would love to take all the dogs and cats home with me, but I also recognize that the shelters really aren't the bad guys here and until we educate people to the point that everyone spays and neuters, there WILL be unwanted animals.

Perception is everything, and in a lot of ways, we need to reevaluate how we think about the issues surrounding homeless animals...

I do believe this is the moment when I should throw in the "please adopt" spiel...so many animals need homes...too many. And mutts are healthier anyway;) #biggergenepool

Just some things to think about...


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sadness.

Spring 2013

 2015 has been a hard year thus far. There's been a lot of good to it and I'm thankful for all that I have, but damn it it has also been a struggle.

It's been a year of goodbyes, goodbyes that I wasn't even remotely mentally prepared to deal with by the time they came along.

It started with Missy, of course. Saying goodbye to her was one of the hardest things I've ever done.

Then three weeks ago my grandmother passed away. The one grandparent that I was truly close to...I really and truly adored her, it's just so strange to exist in a world that she doesn't. It's completely just...heartbreaking.  She loved dogs and we would sit for hours and talk...and watch NCIS on Tuesday nights:) She was one of the strongest human beings I have ever met, ten children--my dad is number 8--and 21 grandchildren. She was amazing.

And on Thursday we let my little pug man go...damn it I'm tearing up just writing this. I can hardly think about him because it just makes me so upset. I seriously can't believe I'll never see his perfectly smooshed face again...no more butt scratches or tummy rubs. No more hogging my bed when I'm home from school. No more pug kisses. We tried so hard to give him a couple more years...but his breathing got really bad again and his quality of life was just went down hill so fast and we  made the decision no one wants to...I miss him so much it's physically painful. A world without Henry The Pug is just not one I've even mentally comprehended yet...he's been in my life since 2nd grade.

My world has gotten quite a bit lonelier since the beginning of the year...it's a pretty sad reality.

Miss you my handsome little man.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Weird Reality of a Horseless Life

Winter 2012

When I was sixteen, if you had told me that in the fairly-near future, I would have to be horseless, I would have told you that there was absolutely no way in hell that that would be the case. I'm not sure I could have even imagined a life without horses in it. I don't think I could have survived it at that period in my life.

But today, I've been horsesless for a month and 2 days and you know what? I'm really doing okay.

I've had SEVERAL people tell me that they don't think they could make the same decision I did, which puzzles me a little, because we do what we need to do when it comes to the animals we love, but everyone has their own priorities and while I don't love horses any less, I know exactly what I want in life. What is came down to is this: as hard as it was, I could imagine a world where Missy had an amazing home other myself. What I couldn't imagine was cheating myself out of something I know with all my heart is what I want. Period. This is it for me. I want this more than I have ever wanted anything else in my entire life.

I freely admit that it is HARD sometimes. I'm pretty hard on myself because I know that the vet school acceptance rate hovers around 11% (yes, ELEVEN) and I want in on application cycle numero uno. So yeah, I study my butt off and give up a lot of the social stuff and I'm probably a tad obsessed. I'm not a hermit, though, by any means and I have fun with my friends (my friend and I went to a Brad Paisley concert a couple weeks ago...I had never seen him in concert. WHAT.A.BLAST.). It's definitely about balance. I'm pretty lucky, though, I figured it out pretty quick and started strong. A lot of people screw around their first year and then have to play catch-up in the GPA game for the next several years. But I've learned HOW to study and I plan out my week and divide the work appropriately. Most of all, I don't procrastinate.

Life is enjoyable, though, I'm involved in a lot of student orgs and I spend a good bit of my time being involved and volunteering. I especially love working with the SNAP program in the county (Spay and Neuter Assistance Program) because I get the opportunity to talk to a lot people and hear their stories, while at the same time helping their pets. One less reproductively-capable dog and cat in the world makes my heart happy! Prevention is the best kind of medicine there is, in all forms...

Next week is a busy one. My singular Tuesday class is canceled and so I'm meeting up with the ever-fabulous Dr. J to go acupuncture like 8 horses, and then next weekend I'm driving home (again) to go to a conference with her...yay for kick-ass mentors!

Is this the life I imagined? Nope. But I'm happy and I know what I want...the craziest part is, I'm starting to really believe I can do this! :D