Everyone has their niche, an activity they can execute that allows them to stand out. In my community I learned of an animal rehabilitation center that worked closely with domestic animals. After some further research, I discovered the employees were highly trained in performing physical therapy and acupuncture techniques on harmed pets. Most of the clientele were pets needing this because of ailments such as: hip dysplasia, arthritis, and more.
I found out about this office as a freshman and immediately signed up to volunteer. Over the course of the next four years, I worked every Saturday, and a few days off school, to obtain the most knowledge I could about injured animals, and to help those in need. I’d like to think I made a positive contribution to the office through my continued help, and diligence. In my time volunteering there, I was able to aid the doctors and nurses with many patients, big and small; everything from Great Danes to Chihuahuas were given proper care and attention.
Recently, I’ve had to make my visits scarce. I can look back on those days, though, with a feeling of pride. I know that my presence and work was appreciated by my co-workers, despite the limited things I was allowed to take part in. Retrospectively, one patient in particular will always be remembered. Her name was Lillie. She was a four year old Giant Schnauzer who had recently suffered from a mild stroke, regardless of her young age. The stroke had affected her ability to walk and use of her hind leg muscles. Through a series of activities such as pull cart, and figure eights; and many hours of undivided attention later, she was able to walk normally again. Her total recovery took approximately 3 months. Now, a year since her first visit, she is competing in agility competitions in her area. She is one dog I can honestly say I will never forget.
This activity was meaningful to me in so many ways. Not only was volunteering there an educational experience, but it gave me hands on practice with pets and issues I’d never dealt with before. It also allowed me to gain knowledge in the field of veterinary medicine, my major. I believe my time there will help me in the future when I face situations similar to those I’ve already defeated. For example, when I enter my future classes in veterinary medicine, I will be able to excel because of the familiarity with animals, tools, techniques and medicines obtained at the rehabilitation center. I feel this occurrence is a positive contribution to the community and myself, knowing I helped others as much as possible. It is clearly my niche.
Student Essay: Published with Permission
Lynn Radlauer Lubell, Publisher of InLikeMe.com and Founder of Admission By Design, an Educational Consultancy based in Boca Raton, Florida.