My classmates and I were exited to receive our selective matches during winter break and even more excited to jump right into them during the first week of January. I had the good fortune of receiving a good lottery number, so I received my top selective pick: day-to-day functioning at Tufts Wildlife Clinic.
What I didn’t realize was that Tufts is both a tertiary hospital and a teaching hospital. Besides the DVM faculty and the veterinary technicians, there are also interns (newly graduated DVMs who are specializing in wildlife medicine), 4th-year vet students on rotation, work-study students, 2nd- and 3rd-year selective students, and public volunteers. So there’s a lot of people coming into the clinic, all looking to handle wildlife and learn some wildlife medicine. At first I was a little worried that I’d have a hard time seeing cool stuff or getting my questions answered, with lots of other people vying for a view of a Cooper’s hawk being anesthetized or a yellow-bellied sapsucker being flight-tested in the exam room.
But I forgot another important fact: that we all share the same curiosity and love of learning. Luckily, everyone in the room understands how fascinating it is to see a mink or heron or opossum up close, and the DVMS are more than willing to share their knowledge. All of us observers are careful to make sure everyone has a chance to feel an ulnar pulse on a bald eagle and the crackly subcutaneous emphysema on a Canadian goose. So far, there’s been more observation than hands-on experience, but the time flies when I’m there, so I must be having fun!