Texas A&M Class of 2018
Creative Corner Award Winner & 2nd Place Overall
Mr. Dursley did not like animals, especially cats, because he was allergic to them and furthermore he detested their peculiar attitudes. The cat outside of his house in Little Elm, Texas was more peculiar than most and therefore Mr. Dursley was more irritated than usual. It was a good thing that he did not notice the cat’s owner for he would have disliked her even more. Dr. McGonagall, the veterinary physiology instructor, sat on a bench observing the man. When he swatted at her cat and muttered something about running it over with a car, her eyes narrowed. Of all places, the dean wanted Harry left here? She doubted that Mr. Dursley liked babies any more than he liked cats.
Mr. Dursley soon forgot about the cat, settling into his morning routine of making angry phone calls and threatening to fire people. He halted his work to take lunch at half past noon. At the taco shop across the street, he pulled out his phone and browsed through the news headlines of the local paper. Mr. Dursley hated to look ignorant. To his surprise, he recognized the names of a couple murdered in Houston. Weren’t Lily and James the names of his wife’s estranged sister and her freak husband?
Mr. Dursley skimmed the first paragraph of the article. Lily and James were both veterinarians, a deplorable profession in Mr. Dursley’s mind. People spent far too much money maintaining their little foo-foo dogs, and if a cow was sick, that’s what slaughter was for. Besides, he didn’t even approve of human vaccines. As he continued reading, he discovered that their one-year-old son had survived the attack, but the paper did not list any relatives. Undoubtedly, he would become a ward of the state, a drain on everyone’s tax dollars, thought Mr. Dursley. Mr. Dursley was wrong.
Around 11:00 that night, Mr. and Mrs. Dursley were rudely awakened by a loud knock at the door. They were shocked to see a police officer and an old man with a long, white beard holding a baby outside of their door. “Is this your nephew, Harry?” asked the police officer. “I have a nephew with that name,” replied Mrs. Dursley looking bewildered. “What on earth has happened?” The police officer explained as kindly as possible about the murder. “This veterinarian informed us that you were Lily’s sister. He taught Lily and James as vet students.” “And I miss them dearly,” interrupted the veterinarian. “Can’t…can’t you keep the baby?” asked Mr. Dursley. “We already have one young child to care for.”
“I think the child will be better off with a relative,” replied the veterinarian. “After all, I’m sure that Lily and James would have adopted your son.” The Dursleys stared at each other in horror at the thought of their beloved son, living with those sorts of people. “A baby is expensive,” Mr. Dursley protested. “There is some money set aside for his care,” the police officer assured them. After some more feeble protests, the Dursleys reluctantly agreed to take in their nephew.
As the old man with the long beard left the doorstep, Dr. McGonagall stepped out of the shadows. “Really? You’re leaving Harry with those people. I wouldn’t trust them with a cat. Will they even tell him about his parents?” The old man sighed, “It is best if he does not know of our world. With student debt constantly rising, he will be better off never considering veterinary medicine. Hopefully, this is the last anyone in our profession will hear of his name.” The old man was wrong. One day every veterinarian would know Harry’s name.
The Annual AVMA Legislative Fly In is a unique opportunity for veterinary students to learn about the legislative process and how the organization lobbies on behalf of veterinarians. At the program, participants are grouped according to their state and meet with their Senators and Representatives to discuss pending legislation that could impact the veterinary profession. During this year’s program, we discussed the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) and the Fairness to Pet Owners Act (FTPOA).
The HEA regulates student loans, sets interest rates, and provides post graduate repayment options for all graduate programs. In 2015, the average veterinary debt load for new graduates was over $140,000. We lobbied on behalf of the AVMA for the abolishment of loan origination fees, a decrease in overall interest rates, and the ability to refinance whenever a lower rate is available (similar to home mortgages). The AVMA hopes that if these changes are made during the reauthorization process it would alleviate some of the financial burden of student debt.
The FTPOA, if passed, would impose a federal mandate requiring veterinarians to write prescriptions for companion animals, whether a client requests one or not. This would frequently result in an owner handing the same prescription back to the prescribing veterinarian to have it filled. The AVMA opposes this act because it has long supported a client’s right to request a written prescription and notes that this would cause an undue administrative burden on veterinary staff.
The Fly In was a wonderful experience that allowed us to learn about the political process and the importance of being active within our professional organization. We encourage students to apply for this program in the future and stay involved by following the AVMA’s Congressional Advocacy Network.
AVMA-CAN Government Action Center http://avmacan.avma.org
We would like to thank the AVMA, RUSVM SCAVMA, and the Dean’s Hills Scholarship for funding ourexperience. If anyone has questions or would like to learn more about the pending legislation, pleasefeel free to reach out to us.
Jenny Askin & Adam Sebag
Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine - Class of 2018
submission by Deidra Metzler of Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine
When travelling to South Africa as a veterinary student, one might anticipate being awed by the unique wildlife, different veterinary medical techniques and a foreign cultural environment. While planning my trip to South Africa with EcoLife Expeditions I was expecting just that. I witnessed game capture techniques from a helicopter, raced to relocate anesthetized zebra and antelope, observed a large variety of wildlife, and consumed an assortment of new foods. What I was not expecting was to have a single day in an impoverished community completely change my perspective on my future career and life plans.
Dr. Reneè van Rheede van Oudtshoorn is the primary veterinarian working for Vets for Change South Africa, and I had the incredible opportunity to experience what she does first hand. She works closely with her outstanding team of volunteers to promote animal population control, humane education, rabies elimination and veterinary student training in impoverished and rural regions of South Africa. The team spends many hours a week sterilizing, vaccinating and educating. They lead communities by setting excellent examples with their target audience being the children of the community.
Providing low cost or free services to communities in need has always been an area of interest to me within veterinary medicine. However, the methods that Dr. Reneè and her team utilize through Vets for Change South Africa shed new light on my interests. Instead of simply providing vaccinations and sterilization in a clinic available to the communities, they reach out to areas in need and provide services in the homes of the pet owners. This approach alleviates complications of transportation, promotes owner and pet comfort, and even increases awareness and education by having their team present in the community. Additionally, it helps promote success with limited resources. For example, they promote the use of local herbs as insect repellents, or the use of running lines instead of a short lead tie up or free roaming pet.
Dr. Reneè heavily emphasized the importance of working with the communities, not just in them, to achieve a common goal. Dr. Reneè helped me understand that there has to be give and take in terms of services rendered and payments received within these projects. She spoke of an instance where a child understood the importance of sterilizing his dog, but the most payment he could offer was a few pieces of candy. While this may not be a traditional method of payment, Dr. Reneè performed the procedure highlighting this instance as a moment of working within the means of the community to achieve the overall goal. She also helped me see that the children of the community are the strongest assets to the success of Vets for Change projects. Without a strong influence on the children in the community, there would be very little progress in promoting the goals of sterilization, vaccination and humane education. When taught at a young age, these important concepts are carried into adulthood and are taught to others in the community throughout the duration of their lives.
In addition to all the phenomenal veterinary work that Dr. Reneè and her team accomplish in Vets for Change, they also sponsor a community daycare, provide food and teaching tools for children, and medical care for a young girl with Cerebral Palsy. I was able to witness Dr. Reneè’s compassion for the children of the daycare first hand when she greeted them with hugs and kisses during our visit. I also experienced her extreme gratitude upon our group delivering bags of donations for the daycare made by the students of Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine.
The Vets for Change South Africa team goes above and beyond what an ordinary veterinary team might do in similar circumstances. I feel honored to have played a small role in one of their community projects as well as help deliver donated items to the community daycare they sponsor. Dr. Reneè has shown me that I don’t have to limit myself to exclusively veterinary work once I’m done with school. I now have more confidence that I can incorporate more than one interest into my future career, and hopefully it will involve a line of community service similar to what she is currently performing.