The beginning of the summer holiday was a good point in time to stop and revisit what I have learned in the past year, and which of them needed to be reviewed. I found anatomy to be the most important, so I bought a veterinary anatomy colouring book for revision.
Apart from learning from the textbook, actual experience is also important. But since it is difficult for first graders to find internship jobs in veterinary clinics, we can only get our experience in caring for animals from volunteering.
The flow of voluntary work at the Rabbit Association was fixed, first cleaned the cages, then changed the water, fed the rabbits with dry food and then fresh vegetables, once in a while also liquid food. In the process, I learned how to calm the rabbits and also what their basic needs were. I, therefore, treasure my every experience of caring for them.
— Chau Sin Lee
I took a rest and stayed at home in July, mainly staying with my mother and occasionally went out with my secondary classmates. In August, I went to the animal clinic I volunteered for last year, worked as a veterinary assistant. It was a great experience. There, the doctor allowed me to practice listening to the heartbeat with a stethoscope to gain experience about how the heartbeat of dogs and cats with heart disease sounded like. Last year, I had done the same thing, but at that time I didn’t quite get the hang of it, but this year, I suddenly understood more about it and I was glad about it. The first major incident I have encountered was taking care of a very sick dog. She had severe wounds in her paws, elbows and knee joints, that was not healing due to her severe body condition. Moreover, she had severe pulmonary edema so she could not breathe with her nose but with her mouth only. As a result, it made her reluctant to intake any kind of food, including liquid food, even if we force-fed her, she either regurgitated or vomited after a few minutes. What’s worse was that the mucus layer of her large intestine was possibly somehow destroyed such that she kept excreting blood. Seeing her in excruciating pain made me feel very sad, and what made me feel even worse was that she was 6 years old only. My dog is 6 years old too, but she is living happily and enjoying her life, yet that dog was suffering in the clinic and she didn’t deserve all that, she was supposed to be living as happily as any other dog, but just because the irresponsible acts of her owners, she was going through all those sufferings. The doctors thought that no medications or treatments could help her to recover, but only relieving her pain to a very limited extent. In the end, with the agreement of her owners, she was put down. What veterinarians can do is very limited, but I told myself that when I am a doctor, I will try my very best to save any animals in any conditions, before resolving to euthanasia.
During my days in the clinic, I walked a dog almost every day. His name was Dark and he was saved by volunteers as a stray dog. His left forehand was seriously injured, having a bone fracture, he was also infected with dirofilariasis. Dirofilariasis must be treated first before undergoing surgery to remove the fractured bones. He temporarily lived in the clinic so I walked him every day and night. He was very cute and obedient. Fortunately, his dirofilariasis was cured very quickly and the surgery was successful. His recovery was uneventful. He is going to return to the Paws Guardian and wait for adoption. I hope his life will be very happy and he will meet a responsible and caring owner.
The last thing worth mentioning was that I was injured by a cat at the clinic. That was a stray cat saved by volunteers and was taken to the clinic for a thorough body check. She was frightened and nervous. While she was held on the table for a checkup, she turned and scratched me with her hind limb. The wound was quite deep and it was quite painful but it was expected because of the mental condition she was in.
To sum up, I either stayed at home or worked at the clinic for most of the time this summer, and I believe the coming summers will be the same.
— Yeu Ernest