P.L.A.Y. has always made a point to promote compassion towards animals in both our personal and professional lives. From working directly with local shelters to donating products to animals in need through our Warm Bellies Initiative with the Petfinder Foundation, animal welfare has always been a staple of our business. We know there are plenty of young minds out there whom are equally passionate about helping animals in need. In an effort to encourage them and promote this cause, P.L.A.Y. awarded one student a $1,000 scholarship.
We received many wonderful submissions from students around the country, but one in particular entitled 'Animal Advocacy' by Alejandra Medina made a lasting impression on our judges. Below is her winning submission.
Growing up all I could imagine myself doing was working with animals, I spent the mornings watching Animal Planet’s, ‘Emergency Vets’ hoping that one day I would be able perform the surgeries that I was watching. Realistically, I knew this would be something that I could not do without a background in veterinary studies, so instead I put my focus on helping animals in small ways, such as giving stray animals in my neighborhood food and water or finding them homes. In elementary school, I provided advocacy on sheltered animal needs to my classmates, I was able to initiate a collection to create funds which would provide shelters with some financial assistance.
Another way I have tried helping with animals has been with my own dogs, which both came from bad situations. My dog, Milo, was just a puppy when we got him on February 4th, the day after Chicago had one of its worst blizzards in years. We were told Milo had been left out in the cold by his previous owner, which was terrible. Milo was so skinny and scared his first days with us, his tail was broken and he didn’t want to play. After a few days Milo was a puppy again, he began playing, eating and following us around everywhere. Looking at Milo reminds me of all the dogs who do not get the chance to live with a caring family. I cannot imagine my life without him; he makes me feel cared for when I get greeted as soon as I get home. No matter how he was treated before he has been a loyal and friendly dog. My other dog Sophia was being passed from house to house up until we took her in. She showed up to my house a shy and skinny dog with a hernia. After weeks of socializing her with our other dogs an giving her love and attention, Sophia blossomed into a happy and energetic dog. She had to undergo two surgeries to fix her hernia but still continues loving people no matter how she was treated. My dogs go to show that all animals need is a little love to show their true selves. My dogs are family and I would do anything for them.
In the summer of 2011, when taking my dogs to get their yearly shots at Summit Animal Hospital, I asked the doctor if she needed any assistance, I soon began helping out every Saturday. I started by helping the groomer cut the dogs hair and swept up the remaining fur afterwards. Then I continued helping out in the patients rooms either translating for clients or holding dogs to be checked. Every Saturday I was allowed to do a little bit more. One Saturday I helped a client whose dog was having serious epileptic attacks; although initially scary due to lack of exposure, I was able to deal with the situation in a way that facilitated the Doctor’s duties. This moment marked my promotion from volunteer to part time assistant around the hospital. I volunteered immediately after school Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Providing assistance at Summit Animal Hospital has taught me a lot of useful skills, such as how to deal with emergencies or learning to count out medicine for patients. The doctor has allowed me to see ear crops, cherry eye removal, spays and neuters, cases of leptospirosis and my own dog getting her hernia repaired. I feel education is a very important aspect to becoming a veterinarian, I also feel having experience is an important factor. I plan to continue getting as much experience and knowledge from school so I can continue with animal studies in hope of one day becoming a Veterinarian. Helping animals is what I feel I was meant to do, and although I may not be able to help every animal I will try my best to do my best to help as many as I can.
Please help us congratulate Alejandra on receiving the P.L.A.Y. scholarship and commend her for all she does to help animals in need!