When it comes to dogs and cats, veterinary student Danielle Mzyk is committed to making their lives better.
At first, her immersion into caring for animals at the Orange County Animal Shelter during high school in North Carolina was solely to check the box for having volunteer service on her college applications. She took animals for walks, gave baths and helped socialize shy creatures.
But, her volunteer service quickly become more than a resume builder.
“I always had a love of cats and dogs and animal welfare, in general,” she said. “Once I got into veterinary school, I learned how to take care of animals overall. And, I love teaching anyone who wants to learn about veterinary medicine.”
For the past four years, Myzk, a doctor of veterinary medicine and Ph.D. dual student, has volunteered as the veterinary student coordinator at Second Chance Pet Adoptions in Raleigh, N.C. At the city’s oldest no-kill shelter, she conducts physical exams, provides disease prevention and offers other health services for animals, preparing them for adoption. She also trains volunteer veterinary students to do the same.
In addition to conducting physical exams, Myzk leads Second Chance’s once-monthly spay-and-neuter clinic. It’s an effort, she said, to positively control pet over-population. She also launched the Student Veterinary Service Club at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine where she’s responsible for scheduling regular volunteer events for faculty, staff and students.
Although it’s difficult to judge the impact on students she trains because they graduate and move on, Mzyk said she’s seen the results of her efforts on the faces of others. For example, one dementia patient finally smiled and responded positively to a pit bull up for adoption, and a young girl expressed her excitement at adopting her first puppy.
It’s those responses that make volunteering with animals worth it, she said.
“My main goal is to get others interested in being a volunteer. I want to teach people that volunteering isn’t just something you do in high school,” she said. “It’s something that makes a meaningful impact on the community.”
Visit All For Good to find volunteer oppportunities in your area.