Shelter Animal Physical Health is one of three online courses offered by Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program.
|Click on an image to meet the scholarship winner!|
My name is Catherine Herlihy and I am currently in my third year at the Atlantic Veterinary College in Prince Edward Island, Canada. I have been in love with animal rescue for as long as I can remember. One of the most incredible aspects of shelter medicine is how multi-faceted the field is. I have made it my mission to gain experience in as many aspects of the field as possible so I can be a well-rounded shelter veterinarian when I graduate. An area I have spent time in already is the world of spay and neuter, one of the best front-line tools a shelter has for decreasing the number of animals within its walls. I have been involved with population control efforts both at school in Canada, through a feral cat management organization, and also outside of North America, through World Vets ad VIDA in Central America.
While in veterinary school, I have been very involved with the mental health of animals in the shelter. As a behavior coordinator utilizing positive reinforcement training methods, I help design and implement programs for dogs in the shelter to keep them mentally stimulated. We are concerned with behavior issues that might prevent animals from being adopted or cause them to be returned. We address any behavior problems that the animals enter the shelter with or acquire while there. We also spend as much time as possible educating potential adopters. Many animals that are returned or surrendered to the shelter because of behavior issues could have remained in their home if the owners had proper guidance from trainers, shelter personnel, or veterinarians. I have also been a part of public outreach efforts to try and head some of these problems off before they happen.
Through both my job at the shelter on Prince Edward Island and my time as a foster parent in Washington, D.C., I have gained a lot of experience screening adoption applicants. If done properly, the initial screening of applicants can be one of the single biggest contributors to a successful adoption. The physical health of rescue animals is another aspect to shelter medicine I have gained some experience with. Fostering cats, working in a shelter, and shadowing the veterinarian at Delaware Humane Association have exposed me to the medical conditions that are commonly encountered in shelter animals and how to treat them with the limited resources at hand.
I feel that I have been exposed to many important aspects of the shelter world, but I have yet to have any formal training in any of them. This is why I have chosen to pursue a Graduate Certificate in Shelter Medicine. Absolutely every area in which I already have experience will be advanced through this program, and the areas that I have yet to experience will be opened up for me. This program will allow me to be a shelter veterinarian who is comfortable working in all aspects of shelter life. I will be much better prepared as a new graduate with this program than I ever could have been without it. Being more prepared will better enable me to accomplish the ultimate goal of rescuing as many animals as possible.
Dr. Linda Jacobson
An earlier interest in shelter medicine was fiercely rekindled when I volunteered at the Toronto Humane Society during a period of crisis in late 2009. I have been a passionate THS shelter vet ever since. My background in internal medicine and infectious disease, as well as business and writing experience, all helped equip me for shelter practice. I am interested in shelter medicine for many reasons: Shelters are the place where animals get a second chance, and a shelter vet is a powerful advocate for these innocent creatures. I love that every life saved is a victory to cherish, while at the same time I understand the importance of population management and seeing the bigger picture. The multi-faceted and challenging nature of shelter medicine, and the fast-paced, tough but compassionate, environment, appeal to my love of learning and challenge. Shelter medicine today is an exciting, innovative and dynamic field. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be. I completed the first module of the Maddie’s® Online Certificate last fall. It gave me a new breadth and depth of understanding of shelter medicine and a different perspective on what we do and where we should be going. I anticipate that continuing this course will make me a better shelter vet, help me make our shelter a better shelter, and help us in turn to help other shelters and rescues in our community. I am very grateful to PetPoint® and Maddie’s® Fund for this special opportunity.
My name is Brianna Tobin and I am very grateful to have received this scholarship.
I have always been interested in medicine and have loved animals since I can remember. I knew that if I ever found my way to veterinary school, I would use all the knowledge I gained to give back. I was afraid that I was too sensitive to be a part of the shelter world but my heart just kept drawing me in.
As veterinary student and veterinarian-to-be, I am so fortunate to gain all this knowledge and I want to use it to the best of my abilities to make this world a better place.
The outcome of every animal that I can change and improve is one step closer to a happier reality.
In the future I wish to build a place where animals can be rehabilitated, not just physically but mentally too. A place that would combine help through veterinary care, alternative medicine and positive training. A place where animals that cannot find homes will have somewhere to live out their lives safe and happy.
This course is one step closer to understanding how to maintain and run the place of my dreams. This course gives us the opportunity to look at shelters from the inside out. Every day I am learning something new from my peers, teachers and the material we are reading.
I want again to say thank you for this opportunity and to the people that created this course and made it possible for us to learn.