Yesterday was my birthday, and over the course of the weekend I've had a lot of things come my way to encourage me in my career pursuits. A lot of this came in the form of gifts. Kristin gave me two books: Tell Me Where It Hurts by DVM Nick Trout and the Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook. The former is, as near as I can determine, the only contemporary memoir by a veterinarian describing modern veterinary techniques and interactions. It's very good so far, fascinating and compelling, but I wish there were a similar text written by a food supply vet; Dr. Trout is a veterinary surgeon in Boston and so far all his tails [*rimshot*] have featured dogs. On the other hand that means that maybe there is a need for a latter day James Herriot to author a book that does deal with food supply/large animal work in the present day; a need that could be filled by, oh, I don't know, an aspiring large animal vet who enjoys writing *wink, wink*.
Elsewhere in the gift department my Parents and Sister purchased me some very helpful items. Foremost of these (from a practical standpoint) is my textbook with online package for Principles of Chemistry I this Fall semester. This has saved me some money and shows support for my efforts to fulfill the necessary curricula to begin applying to Vet schools (slogging though my pace may feel right now). They also surprised me with some Schleich toy company animal figurines. I am now the proud owner of an imaginary hobby farm consisting of juvenille food supply animals: a donkey foal, [my personal favorite] a dwarf kid, a lamb, a Scottish highland calf and a Swabian-Hall piglet. I find myself sorely tempted to expand upon this collection in the future, but for now these delightful miniature farm friends offer me inspiration and motivation not to let up in my pursuit of a career in animal medicine.
Speaking of not letting up in my pursuit of a career in animal medicine, I had a conversation with Kristin on my birthday which kind of lit a fire under my backside pointing out that I really need to get some involvement. My overtures last year and this spring to get in some time working with large animals haven't really been fruitful as yet and I've let my pursuit of them fall to the side with the tunnel vision I've had on school for most of the Summer. I need to broaden my horizons I think and accept the fact that the most readily available opportunities for me for volunteer work, shadowing of vets and occupational interviews lie in the seemingly innumerable companion animal clinics in the Twin Cities. I also still need to attempt contact with the U of MN Veterinary program professor I was referred to back in July who shares my proclivity for goats and is alleged to have a goat farm not too far outside the suburban sprawl of the metropolitan area. My goal for this week is to initiate a first attempt at contact with the goat/sheep professor, to attempt to make an arrangement for something (volunteering, an interview, anything) with a local companion animal vet/clinic and to put up a post on Craigslist (this may be totally insane) announcing my interest in opportunities for direct work with animals in what little free time I have. If I have to make time, I HAVE TO MAKE TIME. Oh and I'm going to challenge myself to read Tell Me Where It Hurts in full this week. Goals established, strive to satisfy them Jon; don't get discouraged or distracted!