We created the Vet Set Go Community section with the hope that it will connect the veterinarians of today with the veterinarians of tomorrow. We are hoping that veterinary teams will share a photo of a cute pet they just saw as a patient, an interesting case they want to share, or a photograph of their veterinarian doing something interesting. In turn, we want future veterinarians to share their stories too.
If you are a future veterinarian, we hope you will join the conversation. Share a picture of a pet you take care of, a science project you just did, or something you are doing to help animals. We want to hear from you!
To get the conversation going, I have reached into our archives to share some of the articles we have published in the past about future veterinarians just like you. Take a look at this one on Anny.
Whether she is helping abandoned animals find permanent homes, giving vaccinations to feral cats, or fostering a litter of puppies, Anny Huang of Davis, California, volunteers to help animals nearly every day of her life.
Anny, 13, is motivated to help animals for two reasons: She really, really loves them, and she knows getting hands-on animal-handling experience will help her achieve her goal to become a veterinarian.
“For as long as I can remember, probably around kindergarten, I knew I wanted to be a vet,” Anny said. “I have always loved animals and as a little girl, I just wanted to do all I could to help them.”
“For as long as I can remember, probably around kindergarten, I knew I wanted to be a vet,”
Anny began volunteering with the Yolo County SPCA when she was only 8 years old. Now, the eighth grader spends three Saturdays each month at adoption events at a local pet store, helping animals get adopted into loving homes.
Anny’s duties vary widely, but they are all integral to the adoption process. She might walk or snuggle with a dog who is awaiting adoption, review an adoption agreement and medical history with an adopter, or help give a vaccination or microchip to an animal that is ready to go home. The “biographies” that hang from each dog’s cage are also Anny’s handiwork—she writes descriptions of the dogs, downloads their photos, and designs eye-catching flyers on her home computer.
But volunteering at the weekend adoption events represents only one-third of what Anny does to help animals. Anny is also a foster parent for the Yolo County SPCA and estimates she has fostered more than 200 puppies until they could be adopted into permanent homes.
The Yolo County SPCA doesn’t operate a shelter, so it relies on volunteers like Anny to take care of animals in their homes for a few weeks, and sometimes months, until someone adopts them.
Anny does not have pets of her own, which makes it easier for her to foster puppies.
“Although it is kind of sad when they have to leave, I know that they are going to great homes, so I'm also happy when they go,” Anny says.
While the puppies are under Anny’s care, she socializes them and teaches them commands like “sit”—giving them a big head start on the transition to their forever homes.
At a recent adoption event, Anny completed the paperwork for Mary, a fluffy black Labrador retriever mix puppy she had fostered. Mary’s adopter was so impressed with how well trained and social Mary was, she decided to change the puppy’s name to Anny. She even gave Anny (the human) a 50-dollar donation for the Yolo County SPCA on top of the adoption fee.
Anny fosters one litter at a time, and has cared for as many as 11 puppies at once. Two of her favorites were Guy and Zorro, large German shepherd mixes who lived with her family for more than 4 months. “All of their littermates were smaller and fluffier, and those are usually the first puppies to get adopted,” Anny explains. “So I had Guy and Zorro for a long time, and I got pretty attached to them.”
Anny says her parents are very supportive of her volunteer activities, allowing her to bring dozens of puppies into the house and giving her rides when she needs them. “My mom helps me with the puppies sometimes, but my dad just likes to play with them,” she explains. “Even before I was old enough to volunteer, I would always ask my parents to take me to see the animals.”
“Even before I was old enough to volunteer, I would always ask my parents to take me to see the animals.”
Kim Kinnee, executive director of the Yolo County SPCA, says Anny’s contributions to her organization are invaluable. “She does so much for us, and she is a great example of what kids can do,” Kim says. “Anny really brings it all back to basics and reminds us how important it is to have a connection with animals and serve the community.”
While Anny gives up most of her free time to foster puppies and work at adoption events for the Yolo County SPCA, she still wanted to do more. So a year ago, she undertook yet another activity—working two Sundays per month at spay/neuter clinics for feral cats.
Feral cats live outdoors and are typically reluctant to interact with humans. They face a number of dangers, like starvation, illness, and injury. Many people help feral cats by trapping them, having them spayed or neutered so they can’t produce more kittens, returning them to their original location, and feeding them regularly.
Anny volunteers with two organizations that provide inexpensive spay/neuter surgeries for feral cats—the Coalition for Community Cats and the Solano County Feral Cat Task Force.
At these clinics, Anny gets some of the most practical experience that will help her become a veterinarian. She helps to vaccinate and examine the 60 to 80 cats that come through the clinic, and she observes the spay/neuter surgeries. “Being able to watch the surgeries is so cool,” Anny says. “It’s fun to see how the vets do it, because they all do it differently.”
When asked why she devotes so much of her free time to volunteering, Anny says simply, “To help the animals.”
Anny encourages any youngster or teen who wants to be a veterinarian to “go out and get all of the experience you can.” She recommends contacting vet clinics, animal shelters, feral cat clinics, and non-profit animal organizations to seek out volunteer opportunities.
Share a comment with us. Or better yet, share your story. It’s easy to do. Just hit the share your story button and share a couple sentences about what you are up to. And maybe you can even add a photograph.
What did you think? Do you want to do something like this? What animals do you want to work with? Share a comment with us. Or better yet, share your story. It’s easy to do. Just hit the share your story button and share a couple sentences about what you are up to. And maybe you can even add a photograph.
To learn more about fostering at a humane society, read Fostering at the Jacksonville Humane Society. For even more on things you can do, read Vet Set Go!