Four Legged Friends

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I’m going to tell you a secret: I haven’t pet my dog, Charlie, in quite a while. I’m talking months. When I moved to Davis to continue my education two years ago, I left Charlie with my family. I figured this was a good decision because my family and I are all Charlie has ever known and she would definitely get more attention with my family. I knew I wouldn’t have time to give Charlie the attention she deserved if I brought her to Davis.

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I have only visited Bakersfield a couple times in the past two years and so I haven’t spent much time with Charlie or my family. To get past the lonely times (you know, the days when I want to cuddle up with the only being who doesn’t judge me, who listens to my complaints and licks my face when I’m sad), I seek out activities that allow me to interact with animals. I have found that volunteering at veterinary clinics in Davis and the surrounding areas allows me to get my puppy fix.

Recently, I volunteered at Compassion without Borders, which is a mobile clinic that serves underserved communities in the U.S. and Mexico. This is the second time I have volunteered for this organization and I was just as impressed as I was the first time! At the end of the day, we helped many patients and clients and walked away feeling proud of our efforts.

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I took some pictures of the scenery in Martinez, California, where the clinic was held.

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Consider helping out at your local shelter-there are always animals needing help.

-Paige

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Volunteering at a Cat Clinic

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I recently volunteered at a SNIP Feral Clinic in Martinez, California. This is a great clinic that spays and neuters feral cats in the community. My friend recommended volunteering here as she has been volunteering at this clinic for the past few years. I was immediately interested. After all, what could be better than hanging out with a bunch of cats all day?

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So at 7am we heading out to Martinez, California. We arrived early and my friend gave me a tour of the facility. The set-up was amazing! I have been to a lot of spay/neuter clinics, and this is the most impressive so far! The shelter is huge and they use every bit of space they can for the cats. Each room/area was set up to serve a different function for the cats. For example, the waiting area held a bunch of tables where the cats waited to be given anesthesia.  The cats then got transported to a room to get anesthesia and then are transferred again to another room (my room!) to receive a painkiller to ensure comfort during and after the surgery. After surgery the cat is given vaccines, flea and tick control and other such things.

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I was one of the three volunteers at the pain killer station. We received cats after they had undergone anesthesia and administered painkiller via subcutaneous injection. The day I volunteered, we saw 78 cats, but usually the number is much higher. Overall, the volunteers were great, the cats were amazing, and the lunch was incredible!

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Not only was I impressed with how well the clinic was set up within the animal shelter, but I was also impressed by the shelter itself. They even housed rabbits!

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Bunnies! Bunnies! Bunnies! How adorable!

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I’ll let you know about my next volunteering adventure!

-Paige

Dog Days of Summer

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This morning I awoke to a very angry alarm clock. It seemed to scream at me to “Wake up! Wake up!” On any other day I would have hit snooze, but today was a volunteer day! I scrambled out of bed, grabbed the pair of scrubs and sneakers on my bedside table, and got ready for the day.I was soon walking to the parking lot to await the arrival of the other volunteers who I would be carpooling with to the clinic in Sacramento.

Before I write anymore, I should explain what Mercer is.  Mercer Clinic for the Homeless is a monthly clinic that serves homeless individuals in the Sacramento area to ensure proper care and health of the pets of the homeless. I began volunteering at this clinic during my first year at UC Davis and it has been a blast! It was here that I learned animal restraint techniques and how to communicate with clients from diverse backgrounds. I learned that the bond between a person and animal transcends a person’s living situation. I learned not to judge someone’s appearance or living situation and the joys of living with a pet.

During each clinic, undergraduate volunteers (such as myself) are paired with veterinary students in order to assist them in performing physical exams and serving our clients. Today, I paired myself with two vet students. They were both very welcoming and we worked as a team to exam our patients and reassure our clients that their animal(s) were doing fine.

One client that stood out to me was a female Boston Terrier. She was a beautiful dog with a wonderful owner and I couldn’t wait to help them out! At the end of the day, our patients left with wagging tails and our clients waved goodbye to us with happy smiles. What a great day!

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Have you made a difference in the life of someone today? It’s never too late!

-Paige

How to be a Great Volunteer

Now that summer is in full swing, volunteerism is skyrocketing as people find good causes to support. There is more to volunteering then just showing up on the day you committed, so below are some tricks to be a great volunteer.

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I took this from my high school agriculture teacher, who had a poster with this quote at the front of his classroom. He drilled the importance of integrity into our teenage minds until I couldn’t forget it. The lesson is simple: mean what you say. If you say you are going to do something, then do it.  Although organizations love to have volunteers, they want good volunteers who will show up for the shift they signed up for.

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No matter where I volunteer, I always gain a new insight from the people I help. At Mercer Clinic for the Homeless in Sacramento, California volunteer veterinarians, vet students, and undergraduates provide medical care to pets of the homeless. Each time I attend this clinic I learn new things about the world around me and gain a better appreciation of animals and their owners. There is no room for judgement here. Instead, I learn to empathize and understand my client’s situations. Serving a segment of the population that you are unfamiliar with will help broaden your horizon, diversify your experiences, and allow you to relate to new people and their lifestyle.

Fun

I have volunteered at many events over the years and it always pays to have fun. Not only will you be excited, but so will everyone else. Being upbeat and positive always helps make the day go by faster and more productively. Being a downer or being too serious about your volunteer work will negatively affect everyone else’s work. Don’t be that person! Everyone is there to help and make a positive difference in the lives of others, so be happy-you’re doing good work!

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If you find yourself without work to do during your volunteer shift, then ask the event leader or volunteer coordinator if there are any available tasks to be done. The event leader will be impressed at your willingness to serve and your great work ethic.

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Always ask about the quality of your work and inquire about areas in which you can improve. Asking these simple questions will show the  event leaders that you are passionate about serving others by performing your absolute best. This will leave a good impression and you may walk away with a recommendation if you play your cards right.

Have you volunteered recently?

Paige’s Interview with Bell

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In my quest to find out if college is worth the effort, I interviewed my friend, Bell, about her pursuit of a college education and plans after she earns her Bachelors degree. Bell is a senior at UC Davis pursuing a degree in Animal Science.

Fast Facts:

Hometown: Bangkok, Thailand

Favorite Color: Light blue/black/white

Dream Job: Veterinarian!

Favorite Animal: Elephant/white tiger

1. What were your top college picks & why?

It was UC Davis, University of Illinois. University of Illinois has a vet school and I already knew from high school that I wanted to go to vet school. I was like, which one is the best and I went to the US ranking and went down from there. I wanted to go somewhere else that is not California, so I was like, University of Illinois might be a great fit. Plus I’d heard it was a good school. Also, they have good livestock.

2. Why did you choose UC Davis?

I chose UC Davis also because of the animal program. I heard that they had good animal experience programs. My high school counselor told me I wasn’t going to get in. She just told me straight up, ‘no you’re not going to get in’. She said ‘You’re SAT score is not high enough for UC Davis. You’re never going to get in’ and then I cried. I was so sad and I cried.

3. When you applied to UC Davis, did you think you’d get in?

No.

4. What did you do in high school to prepare for college?

I didn’t prepare anything.

5. What drew you to your current career goal or field instead of others?

At first I wanted to be a human doctor. I love science, medicine, physiology and all that. At the time, my parents were wanting me to be a doctor because in Thailand it is a good job and people respect you. One day I started to [realize] I don’t see myself being a doctor.  I came to the U.S. because my mom thought I wanted to be a doctor.  When I was in high school I just interacted more with animals and my sister suggested [I] look into being a vet. I had never thought about that. So I said I would give it a try. I started contacting veterinarians in Thailand to see if they wanted to let me do some work for them. I got a volunteer job and it all started from there. After I started volunteering there for a while I started seeing that I wanted to do this more and more. In college I tried to confirm that I didn’t want to be a doctor by doing an emergency medicine internship at the UC Davis Medical Center. It was a horrible two months.  It was a 2 quarter commitment, so I couldn’t quit. I look forward to [doing veterinary stuff] and know that I really like doing this stuff.

6. How important is happiness in your future career?

A lot. I don’t have any troubles about money, so maybe that’s why I prefer happiness more than money. I know vets don’t make a lot. In Thailand they make a normal office worker salary. It’s super low. You can’t have savings or anything. It’s that bad, but I still want to do it . It’s more for my happiness.

7. What do you expect to get out of college?

I expect it to prepare me for vet school, so give me a lot of animal experience. Actually it didn’t give me animal experience, I had to find it. It just provided me the resources. I also expect some basic knowledge about science and physiology that I have to know in order to live life and work in a professional school.

8. Before you started college, what was your vision of life after attaining a college degree and how has that vision changed?

I guess it’s more realistic now, in that I can see what exactly I want to do. Before I was like ‘Oh yeah I’m going to be a vet. I’m going to stay in Thailand and that’s it’. That’s life. Now it’s more like there are other options, I can do shelter [medicine]. I can stay in America and help out with the community. I know more options abut what I’m going to do. There are so many visions that I have for myself, but for now if I were to be a vet I can see myself working in a local clinic or mobile clinic and then also, maybe on weekends helping out at the shelter or things like that. I also want to travel with vets to underdeveloped countries where they go and help. That’s a cool thing to do.

9. What is the greatest challenge that you’ve faced in your efforts to gain an education?

Trying to get A’s. The schoolwork. Internships and research was very hard to find. You have to face a lot of rejection and people who are not nice to you and look down on you. It’s a challenge because you really need vet hours, but the technician may piss you off, but you can’t quit. It’s like one of those challenges. I worked at a vet office and the vet and I didn’t fit. Maybe I was too shy and she wanted more of a talkative person. They were very rude to me and they said “You need to learn faster,” but I only went there 4 times in a month. It was like do I learn slow or do you not have time to teach me?  So it’s more like well who are you going to blame. I’m not going to blame them.

10. If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?

Study harder. Don’t play a lot of online games. I used to be addicted to online games. I was a hardcore gamer.

11. Has your pursuit of a higher education been worth it?

Yep. It’s worth it.

12. Do you think you would have been better off just getting a job or skipping college altogether?

No, I feel college is an experience that you can’t really skip. If you really need the money, then you can skip college. I feel it’s an experience that you should not just skip. Plus you can get connections from college, like professors. Those professors are awesome. You learn so much more than if you just stop at high school and go work right away. I feel like those people are smart, but once you go to college, it exposes you to so many things and different kinds of people and you will be better off coping with different kinds of  people. Like in your work setting and things like that.

13. Are you optimistic about finding a job after college?

No! No! Hell no! I know it’s very difficult and I’ve heard a lot of bad stories about people getting kicked out of companies because of the economy. So I’m not positive at all.

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As always, I hope you all enjoyed this interview and gained something from it. Stay tuned for my next interview!

I’ll keep you posted.

-Paige

Paige’s Book Review #2

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Book: Travels with Casey: My Journey Through Our Dog-Crazy Country

Author: Benoit Denizet-Lewis

1. What made me want to read this book?

I am an animal lover, especially a lover of dogs! They are amazing creatures, which have changed many a person’s life. As soon as I saw the cover of this book I was hooked. After all, who wouldn’t want to travel the states with their furry friend?

2. Which passages were the most interesting, disturbing, humorous, or sad?

This book is filled with excitement and humor! On his journey, the author ran into a bunch of funny dog-lovers and a few dog-haters. The part that makes me laugh out loud is on page 66, when the author visits a dog park and runs into a man who asserted that his children are transforming into “petless freaks” without a dog! Another notable passage revolves around homeless teenagers who have dogs. The dogs serve to protect and comfort the teens, who are struggling to make ends meet on the streets. This passage is eye-opening and makes me want to learn more about the plight of homeless teens across America.

3. What has this book taught me? Has it broadened my perspective on the world or some part of my life?

This book taught me the importance of making a bucket list and sticking to it. The author was lucky enough to have a job that enabled him to take such an epic journey across America with his canine. After reading this book, I now know that trips like this are possible.

4. Has this book changed my opinion about anything or anyone?

Although this book was a great read, it didn’t change my opinion about anything or anyone. I don’t believe that was the aim of the book either. This is probably due to the fact that I’ve been studying Animal Science and have had my own encounters with dog lovers and haters. Nevertheless, this book is a great read and reminder of why I decided to pursue a career in Animal Science!

5. What is the writing style like? Engaging, boring, easy to understand?

This book is great to read during summer days sprawled out by the pool or sipping tea in your backyard. It is real, true, and human. The author writes about his encounters with dog owners and accents the tales with excerpts from research papers and books about canine intelligence and the dynamic relationships between dogs and their humans. Overall, this is an excellent book for dog-lovers and those who are interested in learning about dogs.

I will be visiting the library today to pick out a few new books. I’ll post the title of my next book later.

Feel free to join me in reading and discussing each book!

Have you read this book and want to share? Feel free to post in the comments section below!

Happy reading!

-Paige

Bike Path Tour #3

Today I’m exploring a little farther south on the Davis bike map. I have set my goals on seeing Mace Ranch Park and Slide Hill Park (interesting name for a park).

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I biked through Community Park, crossed F Street, passed the Little League Park, went under the bridge to get to Drexel.

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I then took Drexel until it turned into Loyola. Loyola eventually runs right into Mace Ranch Park.

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On my way back, I visited Slide Hill Park.

I didn’t take too many pictures during this ride because it was a residential area. If I had taken more pictures they would have been of a bunch of houses haha and that’s no fun.

Check out my first and second bike path tours too!

Have a great day folks!

-Paige

Davis Bike Path Tour #2

7225 Today I decided to tour another portion of my Davis bike map. The path I took is outlined in pink below: map2 This was a longer tour, so I have more pictures to show. Hurray! 7211 It was an overcast day; the sky was punctuated by white clouds and there was a slight breeze that made my ears cold. As I biked around I passed more than a few happy joggers and families pushing strollers. Everyone seemed so happy and the feeling was contagious. 7212 The paths looked great, lined by trees and bushes, the air was fresh and I was content with riding through these friendly neighborhoods. 7214 There came a point when I saw a row of magnificent pine trees near a small ditch filled with rocks. I pulled Bessie over and took a quick snapshot of her. 7216 I headed back to the trail and turned right and bam! Dominos! Literally, a pile of huge dominos lay in a field! It’s not every day that you see those! 7220 Hacienda avenue was a nice ride. I passed a house that had a chicken enclosure, which was an awesome surprise. As the hens pecked the dirt I took a photo of Bessie in the path. 7222 I eventually reached Anderson Avenue and was greeted by purple flowers! They were so cute! 7223 I soon passed up the picnic area I had stopped by during my last bike tour. 7226 Next up was the North Area Drainage Pond, bordered by the Northstar Park. This is a great place for anyone who likes seeing nature, especially ducks and Canadian geese. In the spring you can spot the nests of these beautiful geese and even see their babies! 7235

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As I head back to my apartment, I passed by the Frog Queen-a true royal!

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As I neared Covell Park, Bessie and I ran into a field with some pretty flowers.

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As I got closer to my apartment complex, I saw little chalk hearts on the path.

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Needless to say, I followed them home and was soon sitting comfortably on the living room couch. 7254

I’ll let you know about my future bike path tours! Have a good one!

-Paige

Late Night Encounters with Aliens

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Now that I’ve graduated college I find that, in between applying for jobs, I have little to do. Hence, the many walks, picnics, and books I’ve been reading. Recently, I’ve had trouble sleeping-probably from the anxiety I feel creeping beneath my skin, which serves as a constant reminder that I only have a few more months in Davis before I return to Bakersfield. I find that as the amount in my savings slowly becomes less and less, so do the number of hours I sleep each night. One night I couldn’t sleep and was passing the time by looking at the ceiling and mentally arguing with it about what it means to “be an adult,” when all of a sudden my entire room erupted in light! The first thing I thought was “Holy French fry! Aliens are real!” No, I’m not kidding. I really thought that. I quickly ran to my window, eager to see what these modern E.T.’s looked like, and was both relieved and disappointed to see a police car patrolling the park across the street. The car had bright lights, which were illuminating my room as well as a portion of the park. I thought about how many times those lights had accidentally illuminated my bedroom in the past, while I was soundly asleep. Before I headed back to my bed, I noticed that there were a lot of cars driving by even though it was about 1am. The whole event reminded me that while I sleep, there is a whole other world awake.