I’m originally from Yellowknife, in the Northwest Territories, and it was a big move, but a move aimed at completing a good undergraduate education at UBC when I came to Vancouver. In the second year of my Bachelor of Science in Honours Animal Biology, I reached out to various animal clinics and hospitals for volunteer opportunities to gain experience in preparation for my then distant application for veterinary medical studies. I happen to have a mutual connection through hockey to Dr. Cumberbirch, an alumnus and major supporter of UBC Varsity Hockey, and he graciously offered me a chance to interview at Amherst for a volunteer position. I started within a couple weeks, initially as a volunteer once a week, cleaning, observing and occasionally helping with animal care. Within a year, a part-time veterinary assistant position opened up which would involve more animal handling and animal care, as well as assisting with procedures. I was glad to take on this role, as the scheduling was flexible with my full-time studies. I continued observing procedures with the wonderful doctors on my own time because they were all so willing to teach and share their knowledge. The community of Amherst, both the close-knit staff and the wonderful clients made my 2+ years there joyful! I loved my job and working there, amongst other diverse animal experiences, confirmed my desire to pursue veterinary medicine. This past spring I graduated from UBC and was accepted on my first application to the Western College of Veterinary Medicine.
It was an interesting end to my time in Vancouver due to the global pandemic, both as a graduating university student completing animal research and an essential worker in the animal care industry. It will continue to be a curious but exciting beginning to my DVM studies, but I’m thrilled to be starting this journey and continuing the ‘Amherst tradition’ from vet assistant to vet. I know I will maintain great friendships with coworkers and important professional contact with a stellar veterinary practice that will remain throughout my career.