Entry, Foot in Mouth
Rachel Turner, NCSU
I spent two summers in high school volunteering at a wildlife center, a busy facility made up of a few run-down portables and some flight aviaries and duck ponds. Our mission was to take in and treat injured wildlife, from nestling songbirds that had clumsily fallen out of their nests to abandoned coyote pups. I worked with a lot of raccoons while I was there, from blind infants who could only squirm and suckle to huge adult males who wanted nothing more from life than the chance to rip off my hand. However, nothing prepared me for the small female that I encountered on a hot day in late July. My supervisor Ashley and I were doing the evening rounds, giving all the animals their delicious dinner of watermelon, apples, and dead frozen mice. We ventured out into the late-afternoon heat to take care of the animals out in Building C, a crummy and musty portable where we kept large birds and other special cases. At first glance, this particular raccoon was just another scared animal, crouched at the back of her crate, watching us switch out her old food dish. When I reached in to pull out her bedding towel, which was crusted with feces and dried urine, she shifted a bit to the side and exposed the side of her back leg, which was when I noticed her wound. She had somehow acquired a large, gaping cut on her haunch, and as soon as Ashley saw it she sent me to get the staple gun. However, this little raccoon turned out to be a lot more than we had bargained for.
SAVMA PHCOC "Underserved Population Externship" stipend winner
Chelsea Reaves, CSU DVM Candidate Class of 2017
December 2013 at Animal Care Center
As my first semester of vet school came to an end, I packed up my suitcase with warm clothes, my stethoscope, coveralls, and boots and headed off to Hardin, MT. I was fortunate to have met Dr. Francis through family friends randomly, and we clicked right away, so I spoke with him about gaining some experience through his practice! Dr. Francis runs a mixed animal practice, Animal Care Center, in a rural area of Montana basically on the Crow Indian Reservation. Being a Tucson native, I knew this would be a great opportunity for me to be exposed to an area with a different level of personal animal care than you mostly see in larger cities like Tucson where everything is “their baby”.
In Hardin and the surrounding areas there are a ton of stray dogs, skinny horses, and feral cats that are kind of put outside to forage for food on their own with the occasional food tossed out to them. On the contrary, there are also the family pets, ranchers’ cattle, and 4-H animals. Hardin is a beautiful area if you really enjoy the outdoors, as the Bighorn River runs right through it and there are a lot of open spaces.
Being on the reservation, there are an immense amount of strays. Dr. Francis works closely with a rescue lady, Sheri. Sheri runs a non-profit organization called Rez Dog Rescue and basically drives all over Crow Agency, Lodge Grass, and Lame Deer finding abandoned, neglected, and stray “Rez” (reservation mutts) dogs. She brings them to Dr. Francis and he works with her at discounted prices to spay/neuter, treat, vaccinate, and deworm all these dogs. Dr. Francis works to provide low cost veterinary care to the underserved area and help alleviate the rampant problem of abandoned “rez dogs”. I got a lot of experience with spay and neuter surgeries, from sedation and anesthesia, to prepping the dogs on the surgery table, and assisting in surgery. Dr. Francis also sets up spay/neuter clinics with the tribes, although there was not one during the break while I was there.
Entry, Creative Corner
Emily Pearce, Mississippi State University