Telly Barnes, who goes by TJ loves animals and always has for as long as he can remember. Barnes is an Agricultural Business Management student in the IAA program who had a veterinary internship this last summer (2022) at a local (MD) animal clinic. Due to his fondness and appreciation of animals, this seemed like an easy fit for him. During his internship, Barnes performed many tasks to aid his supervisors with the incoming animals in need. Including administration of vaccines, performing x-rays, prescribing medications, and checking animals in and out of the care facility. Barnes was able to help with bloodwork for the animals, and towards the end of his internship was even able to perform it himself. He was also able to sit in and view surgeries on pets who need the help of professional veterinarians in order to understand the process and witness his supervisors diagnose the problem.
Barnes cared for everyone who came through the doors of his facility, animal or human. Understanding how his hospital worked and how the operating rooms were managed was integral to his learning more about animal care. Many times, he alone was able to be the “dog whisperer” with dogs that seemed anxious, aggressive, or scared in the presence of other people. He was able to understand how animal hospitals and veterinary clinics operate from the front desk to supervisors who help the new doctors/technicians dosing out and administering medicine all the way to performing surgeries. As well as caring for everyone who came through the doors bringing in a sick or injured pet. I asked Barnes what he enjoyed most about his internship at the vet. He replied “I loved the tasks they had me do at the office, I did a lot of things I didn’t know I was able to do or was too intimidated by. Over the course of the summer, I started getting the hang of everything at the job. That’s what I enjoyed most.”
Empathy and sympathy went a long way in his line of work. He learned a lot from his supervisor, who would allow him to perform some tasks that he thought he would never be able to do as an intern. In Barnes’ words, his supervisor was “patient, worked with him at his pace, and was always open to his questions large or small.” It’s those good experiences that encouraged Barnes to pursue the veterinary path even further. He’s not sure whether or not he will return to the same clinic that he interned for, but he knows that once he is done with his certificate, he will be working somewhere similar where every day he gets to be surrounded by and most importantly, help animals of all species, shapes, and sizes.