If you ask most veterinarians when they realized they wanted to become the ultimate animal saviour, most would reply with something along the lines of “I don’t know, I just always knew,” accompanied by a dumbfounded shrug – like you had just asked them a silly question. And that’s because most of us have dreamt of fixing animal “boo-boo’s” since we learned that dogs go “woof” and cats “meow”. Whether it be wrapping a bandaid around the broken tail of a dinosaur figurine, or chasing the family dog to stick a band aid on their hips, curing them of their old-dog arthritis (both of which I was saddened to learn in vet school, don’t do squat). Fortunately for me, I was lucky enough to remember my “ah-ha” moment of when I first realized how fascinating other creatures were, and how much I enjoyed seeing them be happy.

My story kind of went like this…

I recall sitting in the living room during an early evening of a winter night, making portraits out of macaroni like all the cool 8 year olds. The front door had opened and my grandpa walked up the stairs clutching something gently, yet firmly within the palms of his hands. Intrigued, I walked over to uncover my grandpas mystery. “Want to see?” he said with a smirk on his lips. That’s when I heard the rustling sounds of feathers from within his fingers, and a head popped through a tiny hole from between them. My grandpa had bought home the cutest baby pigeon! I later learned he had found the bird on the back porch, lying lifelessly frozen by the cold with no nest nearby. He could have sworn it was already dead until he picked it up and saw it blink, and its chest slowly rise and fall. Some food, water and a warm cardboard box nest for a few days was all it took to get the little bird feeling better. And after the third day, we placed him in the same spot we found him and watched him fly away. I kept the cardboard box nest out on the porch just in case he wanted to come visit again.

There’s a reason I attribute the beginning of my journey to that event in my life. Helping this pigeon helped me to understand the fragility yet diligence and endurance of animals and I craved to be a part of preserving such beauty. Looking back, I think my younger self may have confused this intrinsic yearning to help animals with wanting to pursue a career in Veterinary Medicine. I mean, it seems like the perfect way to help animals right? However, It wasn’t until I was actually in the chaos called vet school that I realized that I do want to be a vet. But more importantly, that being a vet was just a stepping stone onto what I really wanted to do; animal rescue & welfare. And now here I am, a 4th year veterinary student merely months away from graduation, embarking on another dream before wrapping up the first one. It took a lot of long sleepless nights, an equal amount of caffeine, some encouragement from my favourite people, and a pinch of doggy cuddles (Thank you Rose & Saint), but here I am. I like to think that this endeavor is more than just another non-profit. It’s an avenue for me to stop reposting sad stories of animal cruelty that occur around the world on Facebook, but to join the fight to help raise awareness, and perhaps aid in its demise. It’s my way of making change. To me, ‘The Traveling Vet Rescue’ represents the joy on the face of an 8 year old child after helping save his first pigeon. And if I can feel that joy again, and spread that very joy onto others around me — then this rescue has served its purpose.

I will be back with more stories about my patients and their recovery soon, so stay tuned in.

Aka

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