Introduction: How I Became the Crazy Animal Person of the Family
Editor’s Note: Meet Kasey Mitchell, one of our newest contributors!
No one in my family liked animals. To be honest, my siblings thought I was crazy. Before school I rescued every single living creature out of the pool in our backyard. I used a pool net that was on a gigantic pole approximately four times taller than myself. I rushed to scoop out every single critter before my mother hurried me off to the bus stop. If I did not scoop out whatever was in the pool, they died once they got sucked up in the filter. My mother did not appreciate driving me to school when I missed the bus, but every single morning I went to school feeling accomplished, knowing that I was able to save these creatures.
My determination to save animals did not stop with my pool rescues. I was grounded for a week at the age of six for jumping out of my mom’s car into traffic to save a wounded turtle. I named him Scooter because I was sure his injuries were caused from being scooted across the road by a car. My eyes filled with tears when I released Scooter, but again I had the same feeling of accomplishment. I asked my mom what we called doctors who save animals. She told me they were veterinarians. I could hardly pronounce the word, but I knew it was exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up.
Throughout the years my passion for animals grew. When I was in the 7th grade I shadowed at Elk Valley Veterinary Hospital. The first day I was hooked. From that moment on I dedicated my life to pursuing a career in veterinary medicine. After taking DANTA’s Primate Behavior and Conservation course in Summer 2011, I was certain that I wanted to specialize in wildlife animal medicine.
After graduating from Marshall University with my B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, I knew that my time in West Virginia had come to an end. When I decided to move to Georgia, in order to follow my dreams of becoming a veterinarian, my family thought I was insane. I had spent my 22 years of life living in West Virginia surrounded by family. I did not know anyone in Georgia and it was over 8 hours away. Despite the efforts of my family to discourage me from moving, I took the plunge and moved to Georgia all by myself. It turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life. I now work full-time at Boulevard Animal Hospital and volunteer at a local nature center and zoo that rescues injured wildlife that can not be introduced back into the wild.
This summer I volunteered in Belize at a primate and manatee rehabilitation center. I was always covered in feces or urine and got attacked a few times by a spider monkey, but I had an experience of my lifetime. Despite laborious work, it only reinforced that becoming a veterinarian is the only job for me. While at Wildtracks I learned that wildlife medicine is slightly different than it is for domestic animals. They do not have owners to say what is wrong with them. Most of the animals are not accustomed to humans and do not eagerly accept your help. It is ideal that the animal is released back into the wild and it is impossible to save every animal in a wildlife rehabilitation setting.
I am still waiting to be accepted into veterinary school, but I know eventually I will get accepted. My family still thinks I am the crazy one of the bunch and that I am way too obsessed with animals. To be honest, I am completely fine with that.