As a Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine student, I had the distinct pleasure of joining the Vida Volunteer organization in Costa Rica and Nicaragua to provide free veterinary care to underserved areas. Vida Volunteer is a nonprofit organization that provides medical and veterinary services through mobile clinics in Guatemala, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Volunteers provide free medical and dental care as well as very low cost or free veterinary care to communities in need.
As a part of the Advanced Veterinary Program, students are able to gain hands on experience with performing physical exams, giving vaccinations and performing spay and neuter surgeries. During the clinic days we saw anywhere between 30 to over 100 companion animals that included cats, dogs and rabbits. We even had the opportunity to work with horses, pigs and goats during our large animal clinic day, where the main focus was preventative medicine and client education. I found this experience very rewarding, not only because I was able to hone the skills that I have learned over the past two years of veterinary school at Ross but also because we were helping people who genuinely care for their animals and want what is best for them. Most of the clients who come to these clinics have to take a whole day off of work to travel to the towns we were in, which many of them cannot afford. So the fact that they make this sacrifice for their animal is very heartwarming. It was a very humbling and valuable experience I would suggest this program to anyone who wants extra hands on experience and the chance to travel to Central America!