Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Dose of Inspiration

I came across this quote today by Maya Angelou and I felt it would be a sin to keep it to myself:

“I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life. I've learned that making a "living" is not the same thing as making a "life." I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one. I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I've learned that I still have a lot to learn. I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Saturday, December 4, 2010


The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is evolving. New veterinarians are hopefully taking to heart the new changes, how may you ask? The AVMA has changed the sacred oath said by new invoked veterinarians "Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine, I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health and welfare, the prevention and relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge (Vetlearn.com, December 2010)." The change is in adding the protection of animal welfare.

As a Licensed Veterinary Technician, future veterinarian, this was a wonderful addition. Animal health and welfare are one in the same. An animal that is not being cared for in a way providing all its needs (food, shelter, etc.) is simply not being cared for. Treating an animal involves the whole animal, the welfare of the animal is as important as the sophisticated medicine we now apply. If the entire animal and its environment is not taken into account, what are we otherwise doing...treating the animal with anticipation of future health challenges? An unnecessary shortened life span? And, gasp for saying, but a long term financial vicious circle for pet owners?

Kudos to the AVMA.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Simple Pleasures

On July 25th of this year I hit a big milestone...I am no longer in my 20's, I officially turned 30 years old. I got up at the same time I have just about every morning I am scheduled to work on the farm, the only difference was I was feeling a little older. I dont know, there's something startling about leaving your 20's behind.

I had no intentions of telling anyone that it was my birthday, however I gave in to two people I was working with in livestock. They wished me a "Happy Birthday" however they sensed that I was not necessarily celebrating. However it was a pleasant surprise to hear the chorus "Happy birthday to you..." over our radio later in the day. The remark I found to be the most humorous was when I told a 19-year old co-worker that I was 30 she said "That's great! There's a certain level of maturity or like being ripe you attain when people are in their 30's." At first I wanted to gasp but then I had to laugh...I'm ripe.

Through my on again, off again mourning I found an awesome amount of joy in my work. When I was cleaning out the watering bucket for the llama's and alpacas one of the alpacas had done something I hadnt seen since working at Overlook Farm...he climbed half way into the water bucket and was playing in the water less than one foot away from me! It was absolutely hilarious! He loved it even more when I started spraying him down with the hose. And when his alpaca buddy seen all of the fun he was having, he came over and joined the party too. I felt like I was hosting a alpaca slip n' slide party. Was this my only awesome moment? Absolutely not!

After leaving the llama/alpaca enclosure I made my way to the water buffalo's, sisters Hope and Joy. One was laying down under some shade and the other was looking content in your wallowing hole. As I was cleaning the watering container one of the sisters came over to me practically begging me to spray her down (and if you've never seen a water buffalo beg its quite a site, lol). So I would spray her down attempting to avoiding her ears and eyes and in between scratch her on her head. Well, she kept lowering her head I thought for me to keep scratching (my water buffalo was a little rusty), actually she wanted me to spray her head. As I sprayed her down from the tip of her nose to the tip of her tale I swear I saw a smile pop up on her adorable face.

The 30th birthday I was dreading ended up being one for the record books. I had some amazing critter moments and some words of wisdom from those around me.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Off and running...

Hello...I know its been a long time but school has a way of sucking you in and keeping you busy (lol)...

I have exciting news to share...its the last second and I wanted to do my initial post earlier but it just didnt happen that way...

I received an offer from Heifer International (http://www.heifer.org/) for a volunteer position of Livestock Assistant. I was suppose to start on Monday (arriving via Amtrak on Sunday, May 16th) however Amtrak, to avoid giving the long, dragged out story, screwed up my reservation. I'm leaving tomorrow, May 18th at 7:30A from Michigan and I'll be arriving at 6:57P on May 19th (Wednesday) in Massachusetts. I have a eight/nine hour layover in Chicago and then then a 20 and a half hour ride from Illinois to Massachusetts. I enjoy train rides, I just wish the reservation part was more efficient, accurate, and friendlier.

Words cannot describe how excited I am! This is my first official step towards my career goals of working in sustainable agriculture in third world countries...

I want to put how enthusiastic and motivated I am into words however I have two things against me...1. my excitement is preventing the descriptive part of my brain and 2. my laptop is running out of juice (both are working against me at the moment). So for now, I'm going to call this entry to an end....

When I arrive in Massachusetts I'll be blogging my trip (hopefully it went better than the reservation process). My goal is to enter in my experiences at least weekly. I want give my readers the feeling of being at my side seeing the sights of Hiefer International, overlook ranch.

Not to mention I can keep in touch with my family too (love you Mom!).

Until we meet again...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The official start of my journey...

I received news that was exciting!!! I am going aboard with Heifer International at their Overlook Ranch operation in Rutland, Massachusetts as a livestock assistant. I do not have the greatest amount of experience in large animal however I am will (and would love) to learn. The livestock coordinator explained that tasks would include everything from working with livestock on various herd health tasks to mending fences and driving tractors. The experience I have strictly pertains to veterinary care, which involves deworming protocols, vaccinations, TB testing, etc. To have the opportunity to learn and participate in the everyday workings of a farm is awesome!

If you have read my earlier entries, you’ve read my future goals of becoming a Veterinarian and working in sustainable agriculture to help however I can with not only the food shortages in third world countries but also the quality of food in those countries. This if the formal start of my education explorations. My goals have included becoming a Veterinarian for as long as I can remember, but after going to Niger (West Africa) with the Peace Corp my professional goals took a turn.

Heifer International (http://www.heifer.org) has a wonderful philosophy of eliminating world hunger and it starts with a breeding pair of animals (or in some cases a colony). The breeding animals could be cattle, goats, pigs, guinea pigs, rabbits, etc. A pact is made that once those animals begin reproducing they give a breeding pair to a neighboring village or family, and so on. Each family or village is given not only a food source, but their helping to feed others as well.
The position is very competitively attained; many applicants from all over the country and one position. When I was told I was being offered the position I was on cloud nine (I’m still on cloud nine). Every aspect of this experience is exciting from learning something new to knowing this is the start of everything that is to come.

I plan on blogging about my experience…if you have questions, email me at michlvt@gmail.com. I hope you enjoy the experience alongside me…

Saturday, May 2, 2009

World Rabies Day

As a Licensed Veterinary Technician I not only have a responsibility to pets, but I have a responsibility to their owners and the community. And to me, my community isn’t simply the city, county, or state where I reside…my community is worldwide. I try to use my knowledge, degree, and simply my willingness to help, to make a difference however and for whomever I can. So, having said this brings me to World Rabies day.

Every 10 minutes rabies takes a human life world wide (Alliance for Rabies Control, 2009). The rabies virus is preventable through a simple vaccination of your pet that lasts for one year (initial vaccination) and every three years thereafter. When you choose to not vaccinate your pet, you’re putting your family, neighbors, and community at risk.

Depending on where you live in the United States determines which rabies vector (the species that has and can transmit the disease) is most likely to carry the rabies virus. In general the most common rabies vector species include raccoons, fox, bats, and skunks. However if you live in northern California the species with the greatest concern is the skunk. If you live in Florida your species of concern is the raccoon (Blanton, Jesse D, Palmer, Dustyn, Christian, Kira A, Rupprecht, Charles E, 2008) Which ever the species, the common denominator in keeping you and your pets free from this disease is by vaccinations.

So, what is the rabies virus? The rabies virus (RV) is a neurological disease that enters the body most commonly through a bite wound or a break in the skin by saliva of an infected animal. Other less common ways of contracting RV is through the mucous membranes (I.e. mouth, eyes, and nose) and via airborne route (National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-Borne, and Enteric Diseases [ZVED], 2007). Once the virus enters the new host, it may take three to 12 weeks of reproduction, development, and invading and neurologic travel before the animal (host) shows signs (ZVED, 2007). Signs signal approximately seven days left of the animal life and include a “drunken” stagger, head tilt (the head will appear cocked or uncentered), and unprovoked aggression or unexplained fearful reaction. Distemper, another viral disease, produces similar signs to the RV however usually have upper respiratory signs such as discharge from the eyes and nose. Distemper is not contagious to people, however is very contagious from animal to animals (as it can be transmitted through an airborne route.

What happens if your pets come in contact with an animal suspected of rabies or is bitten by an unvaccinated pet? Vaccinated pets need to be revaccinated and observed for 45 days watching for any of the previously stated signs (ZVED, 2007). If your pet begins showing signs, he/she is euthanized and is tested for rabies. If you pet has not been vaccinated, he/she needs to be kept in isolation for six months at a facility (I.e. animal shelter, veterinary hospital) and observed for signs. (ZVED, 2007) Pets showing signs of RV are immediately euthanized and sent for RV testing. Vaccination is the only way to prevent a six month isolation stay at an animal care facility.

If you have a pet and keep him/her/them vaccinated or you don’t own pets at all, you may be asking “What can I do to help the 55,000 people a year from dying of the rabies virus?”
  • Visit the World Rabies Day website.
  • If you’re a teacher, download material from the World Rabies Day or Center for Disease Control websites.
  • If you are a parent, visit the Center for Disease Control website with your child and participate in the fun learning activities.
  • Send an email to your friends and family with rabies facts and website links.
  • If you work in an environment were you work around pets that could potentially have rabies, inquire with your physician or local health department about getting the rabies vaccine.
  • Participate in a World Rabies Day event. No listing for a World Rabies Day even in your area? START ONE!

    World Rabies Day, developed by the Alliance for Rabies Control organization, started in 2006 by a group of professionals and researchers. The goal was to bring about awareness of RV and provide prevention assistance. In 2007 400,000 people from 74 countries participated in World Rabies Day (Alliance for Rabies Control, 2009).

    Help eradicate the rabies virus by vaccinating your pets and discuss prevention with your family and friends. Your global community needs YOU!
SEPTEMBER 28, 2009

Additional Resources

Center for Disease Control for kids… http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/kidsrabies/

World Rabies Day teaching information, media information, and animal shelter information…
Learn more about Rabies...http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/history.html


Alliance for Rabies Control. (2009) Retrieved on May 2, 2009. Retrieved from

Blanton, Jesse D, Palmer, Dustyn, Christian, Kira A, Rupprecht, Charles E. (September 15,
2008) Rabies Surveillance in the United States during 2007. Retrieved on May 2, 2009.
National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-Borne, and Enteric Diseases (ZVED). (n.d.) Retrieved on
May 2, 2009. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/

Thursday, August 28, 2008

My Journey Continues...

So, hopefully you've read my last entry and see my plans have changed...maybe your saying "What will Meresa do now?" Well, I've enrolled in classes and I'm continuing my education in pursuance of a Bachelor of Applied Science, Major in Veterinary Technology. As opposed to being a Licensed Veterinary Technician, I would be a Licensed Veterinary Technologist; my emphasis in administration. This is a stepping stone for my Veterinary degree.

I have a fully case load, six classes, 12 credit hours. Three courses are one credit classes however I must have online attendance two days a week for one of them, three days a week for the other. My classes include:
  • Advanced Veterinary Terminology
  • Tools for Success
  • Safety and Regulation Compliance
  • Veterinary Hospital Marketing
  • Intermediate Algebra
  • Studies in Applied Ethics

Plus I am also in a 13 week class locally called the Citizens Police Academy.

Other than the police academy course, my classes started this last Monday and continues until December. I'm very excited and a tad nervous. All of my courses are Internet based. I've had Internet courses in the past, but not solely. My college isn't in the same state I reside so at times I feel a little anxious when I cant get someone on the phone with the college or if I think they haven't responded very soon to a request, concern, or question. But, this will pass when I develop a routine (still in progress) and know what to expect.

I have some work to do, I'll keep you posted and until next time...take care and God bless...