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My SAVMA Symposium Experience

Adam Silkworth, Ross University

Experiences, Entry


After spending the last 2 years on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts attending Ross University, the little snow that we received in Loveland, Colorado at the 2014 SAVMA Symposium was a welcome reminder of the world outside of the beaches and oceans that I had been currently living.

Traveling from such a long distance made the trip there in and of itself an adventure alone. We had to sprint through the Dallas airport, making our connection by mere seconds, due to our Miami connection being delayed. But not before we got Wendy’s in the Miami airport that we had all been talking about for days leading up to the trip.

We didn’t land in Denver until 11:10 p.m. the night before Symposium was to kick off and still had over an hour ride to the hotel. Let us not forget the time difference between the Caribbean and Colorado. By our body clocks, we didn’t land until 1:10 a.m. and arrive at the hotel until well after 2 a.m. Oh and did I mention that breakfast was at 6 a.m. No sleep ‘til Symposium!

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What an Experience!

Ariel Fowler, LSU

Experiences, Entry


In the first week of June, between the anatomy finals of first year and an exam in my first week of second year, I arrived in Post Falls, Idaho. There, Dr. Betsy Charles asked me and a roomful of other veterinary students, clinicians, and faculty members to “step off the treadmill” of endless studying and commitments. That was our welcome to the Veterinary Leadership Experience. In that week, I learned not just leadership skills but life skills—and had more fun than a name like “leadership experience” might suggest!

A major theme of the week was Challenge by Choice—the idea that each of us should try to stretch beyond our comfort zones, but with the understanding that those comfort zones are different for every person. From the very first evening of mingling and secret handshakes and creative teamwork, we embraced those challenges. At VLE, I met students from other veterinary schools, but I also befriended and learned a lot from clinicians and researchers and even the videographers who shot our highlights reel. We started every morning with a dance that made the whole day more positive, and finished the evenings with field games, bonfires, movie nights, or karaoke.

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Mrs. Q

Naomi Kane, UC Davis

Experiences, Entry


While working as an assistant in a small, small animal hospital I met a very special client. When I first walked into the exam room to greet the client and the patient, I thought I might have stumbled into the wrong room. “Hello…?” I tentatively asked the empty space, thinking perhaps they had stepped out. “Hi!” a cheerful voice answered back from the other side of the room. Mrs. Q stood less than 5 feet tall, and when seated completely disappeared behind the exam table.

Mrs. Q introduced me to her kitty. We got to talking about what brought her in that day and I quickly realized that we didn’t really share a spoken language between us. All that aside, we had a wonderful conversation. Her cat was very itchy. The veterinarian met Mrs. Q and her cat and, and after a thorough exam, suggested that this kitty and all of Mrs. Q’s other pets start on flea medicine. Mrs. Q looked at us with desperation. She lived alone with 4 cats and a dog, and it was very difficult for her to administer medications. On top of the cost of the medications, she didn’t think she’d even be able to use them. I asked Mrs. Q if she would consider bringing her pets in to see me so I could help her give the medications. So we worked out an arrangement, Mrs. Q would come in a few days every month with her pets, go to the receptionist and ask for “Nayomo” then gesture to her mouth and say “Ah! Ah! Ah!” to signify her baby was there for his or her medicine. I was delighted to see her every time she came in. The language barrier remained but she was such a joy to interact with, that it never mattered.

One morning a few months after we first met, Mrs. Q came in with her dog. She was a sweet, elderly girl who had lost the use of two limbs and both eyes. Mrs. Q decided that there was no more joy in her dog’s life, and she elected to return later in the day for euthanasia. My shift was about to end and I walked Mrs. Q out to her car. I knew I was leaving for vet school very soon, and I likely wouldn’t see Mrs. Q again. She asked me if I could take some photos of her with her dog and email them to her, and I obliged. Later that day I received a message from her that I will cherish and remember as I move through my career. In all of our interactions thus far, we’d never actually spoken much. So, I was surprised by the beautiful message she sent me, thanking me for the care I had given her pets and telling me of her certainty of the great veterinarian I was to become. I aim to earn her kind praises. I look forward to the fun, interesting, and meaningful client relationships that lay ahead.


Partners for Healthy Pets - November Newsletter


 Check out the November Newsletter HERE!


"Elli" and "Puppy Eyes"

Kristina Solch, The Ohio State University

Creative Corner, Entries

  Puppy EyesElli