Thursday, October 22, 2015
Veterinary student finds her calling with exotic animals
Practicing veterinary medicine internationally became a reality for Valparaiso resident Samantha Miller when she volunteered in Thailand through the Boston-based Loop Abroad program.
“Many of the elephants now living here had been previously abused through illegal logging, trekking, circus performances, street begging, etc.,” Miller said. “Through illegal logging, many elephants step on land mines and their feet are blown to pieces.
“At the Elephant Nature Park, the elephants are given the care and treatments they need and can finally live the rest of their life in peace.” Miller was tasked with cleaning wounds and treating abscesses, as well as feeding and bathing the elephants.
She also volunteered at Thailand’s Animal Rescue Kingdom dog shelter and treated dogs for skin issues and ear infections. “Many dogs had previously lost a limb or ear due to dogfights, car accidents, etc., but were all extremely well cared for.
“On two of the days we were there, we helped assist in 16 neuter surgeries. This was by far my favorite part of our week at the ARK dog shelter,” Miller added.
Miller is a 2013 graduate of Valparaiso High School and has wanted to become a veterinarian since she can remember. “After years of involvement within this profession, shadowing veterinarians and being employed at Arbor View Animal Hospital, I’ve come to terms with the fact that this is what I am supposed to do with my life,” she said.
Besides eventually working at a companion animal clinic, Miller hopes to practice internationally with exotic species. “I think my trip to Thailand has made me realize that what I really want to do with my career is spend time practicing international veterinary medicine. I think it would be an amazing opportunity and I’m excited to someday get to do this as my career.”