Volunteering in South Africa – Living My Dream

Posted by: Ashley M.

I’ve wanted to be a veterinarian since I was five years old and I’m in love with wildlife, so I thought this Pre-Vet Wildlife Internship was a perfect opportunity to see if my dream is what I wanted and to also be a part of a volunteer project. While volunteering in South Africa, I was able to do so many things I would have never thought I’d be able to do for years to come.

I was able to give a Nyala an IV, which is probably one of my highlights of the trip. We were always asked our diagnosis on an animal to figure out what was wrong with it, which helped you start thinking like a vet, and then we were able to treat it if the medicine was at hand and if we were able too.

After being at the project for 3 weeks and being able to visit the same townships, during dog dipping, you could see the impact you were making on the animals which is honestly the best feeling in the world. You would notice the decrease in mange, ticks, fleas, and worms that dogs had.

You would see the growth of puppies and see how much healthier they would be looking after you treated them. It was an amazing feeling being a part of such an awesome program that made a difference in the local towns.

Additionally, we were able to practice tasks of a large animal veterinarian as well. These tasks include, pregnancy testing, pig AI, cow dehorning, etc. The program offered a great selection of tasks where you could work with wildlife, livestock, and domestic animals.

I realized from this trip that I do not want to be a zoo veterinarian anymore because I believe animals shouldn’t be in enclosures and instead roaming free like they were supposed to be. You could see the happiness of animals when they were in their own environment with freedom to do as they pleased.

And thanks to this internship, I now know that I want to travel to countries that need veterinary help due to poor health and living conditions with their animals and be a part of improving the lives of animals around.