ABC Veterinary Assistant Program
Student of the Month
Ashley Morse lives in Jessup, Md., and works part time in Glen Burnie at the veterinary clinic where she did her externship. She initially heard about Animal Behavior College when she saw a commercial on Animal Planet. Ashley has wanted to work in the field of veterinary medicine since she was a child, and ABC presented the perfect opportunity for her to pursue her dream.
What prompted you to become a veterinary assistant? Was there a specific event, circumstance or person who inspired you to pursue this career?
I was obsessed with animals when I was a child, especially exotics. To this day I firmly believe that a home is incomplete without at least one pet. I wouldn’t say there is a specific event or person in my life that inspired me, it was actually an organization. The United States Humane Society and SPCA have always been a major motivator for me.
Describe a humorous moment you witnessed or took part in while working at your externship location.
There were quite a few interesting moments, patients and clients during my externship. However, I think the most entertaining was when I helped the lead tech clip the nails of a yellow Labrador. This was no ordinary Labrador, though. I am not sure what he was mixed with, but he was big and stocky, and weighed in at more than 120 lb. of mostly muscle. There were a couple of times while I was attempting to restrain him that he dragged me on my knees down the hallway and back. His leash was ready to fall apart, because he apparently had a habit of chewing on it. We were all expecting it to bust at anytime as he dragged me down the hall. It ended up taking three of us to restrain him long enough to finish the procedure. He was a very sweet dog, but he just didn’t like having his feet touched. It was definitely a little humorous to say the least.
What has your experience been like in the ABC Veterinary Assistant Program?
Overall, I have had a good experience with Animal Behavior College. My program manager Penny Derbyshire-Baldyga and my externship coordinator Serina Baerga have both been very helpful, understanding and considerate. This has made the online [portion], which was a little different for me, much easier to manage.
What skills do you want to master during the next 12 months?
I would like to master my comfort and instinct levels when handling different animals for procedures, especially those they will be uncomfortable with. It is really the only aspect of this field that I’ve discovered isn’t really learned as much as it is acquired through experience and understanding of different animals.
If you could work with any exotic animal, what would it be and why?
Honestly, big cats, namely cheetahs. They are my absolute favorite, but if I ended up working at a zoo or a wild life rehabilitation center, I would be happy working with any exotic animals; even the large, smelly ones. I love them all.