Well folks, in typical fashion I've got a lot lined up for the coming year!
As most of you know I am in my second year of vet school at Oregon State University and in addition to all my regular course work I have registered to become a licensed Veterinary Acupuncturist by the end of 2014! Since I am passionate about integrative veterinary medicine I am so excited to have the opportunity to obtain this certification before I even graduate as a veterinarian - this means that by the time I do graduate I will have more confidence in the services I can offer to my clients. I decided to go with the "mixed animal acupuncture course" which means that I will not only experience needling dogs and cats but also horses, chickens and goats! :.and out here in Oregon, lots of people have backyard chickens :)
There are only a couple of institutions in the country that offer licensing courses in veterinary acupuncture, I decided to go through The Chi Institute (http://www.tcvm.com to learn more!) for a couple of reasons - most importantly that they allow vet students, secondly because they offer courses that include both online and on-site modules and thirdly because I have met numerous practicing veterinarians who went through The Chi Institute and I have heard nothing but good things about it! The only downside is that for the on-site practicum modules I will need to fly to Florida for 3 long weekends. But a little bit of Florida sunshine will almost make up for airfare and hotel costs :)
The other big thing I have lined up for 2014 is a veterinary service trip to Nicaragua through the Oregon State chapter of the International Veterinary Student Association (http://groups.oregonstate.edu/ivsa/nicaragua-2012). Oregon State has been doing this trip for several years now and it is an incredible opportunity for me to gain real hands-on experience providing veterinary care to all sorts of animals in a Nicaraguan village on the island of Ometepe. I will be able to practice doing physical exams, assist with surgeries, practice my diagnostic skills and more.
As most of you know I am a seasoned traveler, and although I am obviously looking forward to seeing another part of the world this trip will be mostly about hard work and giving back.
The main impetus for my desire to be a part of the 2014 trip is the memory of a sweet puppy I befriended while volunteering on a farm in India, see "Giraffe" with me in the picture (so named because of her long, skinny neck). It's a long story but my experience with her opened my eyes to cultural differences in the human-animal bond and was quite honestly one of the main experiences that pushed me to actually become a veterinarian."Giraffe" was the last surviving puppy of the previous litter the farm dog had and after she was mauled by a neighboring dog her mother gave up on her, she barely even licked her wounds. I was able to regain her trust and nurse her to a stable condition with pretty much only leftover rice and chapattis, soap and water. When we asked the people on the farm if we could pay for her to receive veterinary care they just did not understand why we would care so much about a puppy when there are children in worse conditions living in the streets. Despite the fact that Jed and I still had 6 more months of traveling ahead of us (which actually turned out to be over a year more!) we dreamed and schemed ways of sending her to the states and of her being our dog when we got back.
In the end we eventually had to leave the farm, and after a heartbreaking goodbye to "Giraffe" we found out a few weeks later that she had died shortly thereafter with no one to continue caring for her. I still think of that sweet girl often and I am so excited for the opportunity to help other animals just like her and to do it in her memory.
Thanks to anyone who has read this far!
I truly appreciate any amount of help you feel is appropriate to offer. Jed has been more than gracious and supportive by letting me follow my dreams, though I am well-aware of the sinking feeling he constantly has of our financial realities, between the mortgage and vet school debt and now these two additional expenses. So, any donation made also goes towards Jed not having a stress heart attack!
Sending love and thanks to all of you wonderful friends and family and may each of you have an equally exciting 2014!
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!
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