By Samantha Spark
My name is Samantha Spark and I am a veterinary student, and AVCAT Legacy Australia Westpac scholarship recipient. I am going into my final eighteen months at university. In January 2019 I travelled to Chiang Mai in Thailand and completed a clinical placement with the Worldwide Veterinary Service. Worldwide Veterinary Service operate fantastic animal birth control programs that helps communities in India, Africa and Thailand control their dog populations. The program also helps veterinary students, like myself, with surgical training.
I was in Chiang Mai for two weeks, and time certainly flew! Ten of us arrived from Charles Sturt University eager to help the community and learn invaluable skills for our future careers. We stayed in a rural area thirty minutes from the city centre.
Over the two weeks we each completed 14 surgeries, ten spays and four castrations on dogs for birth control. That’s 140 surgeries between all of us. Some of the dogs were strays, some were owned, but they all received the best care possible in tough conditions.
In the afternoons we would receive lectures on various topics, but the most interesting was about their partner company Mission Rabies. Mission Rabies have decreased the number of human deaths from rabies in Thailand to zero, by introducing vaccine programs and educating school children to report rabid animals. It was amazing to hear about.
A few highlights included refining my surgery skills to feel confident going into my final year of university, meeting so many inspiring people who have dedicated their lives to helping animals, and of course playing with puppies! When we had time off we got to explore Chiang Mai, we visited temples, went zip-lining in the rainforest and wandered through so many food markets.
I have been thinking about my trip ever since I got back to Australia and believe it was beyond my expectations.
Samantha Spark will graduate with a Bachelor of Veterinary Biology and a Bachelor of Veterinary Science from Charles Sturt University in July 2020. Samantha is an AVCAT Legacy Australia Westpac scholarship recipient.
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