This summer, nine students from Kansas State University’s pre-veterinary club, including one from McPherson, spent two weeks in Thailand helping animals and learning hands-on what it’s like to be a veterinarian.

This summer, nine students from Kansas State University’s pre-veterinary club, including one from McPherson, spent two weeks in Thailand helping animals and learning hands-on what it’s like to be a veterinarian. Traveling with the Boston-based Loop Abroad, these young ladies volunteered giving care at a dog shelter and then spent a week working directly with rescued elephants at an elephant sanctuary.
The students arranged their own private Veterinary Service program through Loop Abroad. The private group was arranged by Samantha Prester, a senior Animal Science Pre-Vet major from Salina.
The Veterinary Service program brings students to Thailand for two weeks to volunteer alongside a staff veterinarian. For one week, students volunteer at the Animal Rescue Kingdom dog shelter in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The shelter is home to over 100 dogs who have been rescued after being abandoned, beaten or abused. While the dogs can be adopted, any who aren’t will be cared for by the shelter for their whole lives.
While they learned what it’s like to be a veterinarian, students made a difference in the lives of these dogs. By providing check-ups and cleanings, diagnosing and treating ear and eye problems, taking and testing blood, administering vaccines, cleaning and treating wounds, and helping with sterilization surgeries, the students were able to help support the health and well-being of these dogs.
The group also spent one week at the Elephant Nature Park in northern Thailand to work hands-on with the animals and learn about animal rescue and conservation on a larger scale. The Elephant Nature Park is home to over 40 elephants who have been rescued from trekking, logging or forced breeding programs. Many of them have been abused and suffer from chronic injuries. At the Elephant Nature Park, they are cared for by volunteers from all over the world. Students were able to feed, bathe and care for elephants, as well as learn about their diagnoses alongside an elephant vet. The Elephant Nature Park is also home to over 400 dogs and 100 cats, as well as rabbits and water buffalo, and is sustained in huge part by the work of weekly volunteers like the Kansas State group.
The following students were involved in the trip:

Samantha Prester, a senior Animal Science Pre-Vet major from Salina. Of her trip, Samantha said, “This has been the most amazing experience I have ever had. From getting to learn to draw blood to feeding the elephants, I have learned so much. I did not think it was possible, but my love for the animals around me has grown throughout this trip.” Abigail Ayre, a sophomore Animal Sciences and Industry major from Larned. Of her trip, Abigail said, “This trip has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I have been able to volunteer my services with a humane society and an elephant sanctuary, and these experiences have helped me to grow academically and culturally. I am very thankful to everyone that helped me get to Thailand.” Danielle Gieselman, a sophomore Wildlife Biology/Pre-Vet major from McPherson. Of her trip, Danielle said, “This trip was a great opportunity to learn in a hands-on way; working with the elephants was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.” Cynthia Schurle, a senior Animal Science major from North Hills, California. Of her trip, Cynthia said, “Not only did I get the chance of a great cultural experience, I had the amazing opportunity to assist animals alongside a veterinarian; overall, an experience I’ll never forget.” Alaina Littlejohn, a senior Animal Science major from Crystal Lake, Illinois. Aubri Zogg, a sophomore Pre-Vet major from Coffeyville. Mackenzie Showalter, a junior Animal Science and Industry major from Rose Hill. Elizabeth Stietzle, a senior Animal Science major from Shoreham, New York. Haley DeLong, a first-year Veterinary Student at Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine from Emporia. Of her trip, Haley said, “This has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I have not only gotten to see a beautiful country and meet beautiful people, I got to work alongside vets and work with some of the most majestic animals in the world.” Students and young adults interested in Loop Abroad’s programs can find more information at http://www.loopabroad.com.