Darren always enjoyed going to the wildlife preserve near his home growing up in Oklahoma. He always gets very animated even today recalling a time once when one of the preserve’s emus developed a crush on his sister and would seek her out every time they visited. He particularly enjoyed each visit to the petting zoo always gleeful with every opportunity to get close, touching the animals. He vowed someday he would work at the wildlife park.
Focused from the Beginning
Darren was well focused from a very young age and took every opportunity to study, examine, visit and play with exotic animals whenever possible. Much to the chagrin of his sisters, Darren had his own “zoo” of critters including many exotics such as iguanas, snakes, turtles, lizards and more. He was so passionate about animals that he joined the Association of Zoos and Aquariums at age 10 using money saved from mowing lawns in his neighborhood. By the time he was 14, Darren had joined the Smithsonian National Zoo. As a Boy Scout, Darren obtained every Merit Badge associated with animals and animal husbandry including Veterinary Medicine where, as part of the requirements, he witnessed surgery on a horse and helped birth a calf on a farm.
Darren was hooked!
Planned His Schooling Well
At an early age, Darren knew he wanted to work on a wildlife preserve where animals roamed more freely than those you visited in cages at a zoo. Therefore, he made sure when he went searching for a school to find one that was associated with a wildlife preserve. While taking upon the rigorous academic activity pursuant to obtaining a bachelor degree in veterinary technology, Darren volunteered at the local wildlife preserve. He was so intent and passionate that his fellow workers – the paid ones – soon forgot he was a tech student and looked upon him as one of their own. Since he had focused on a career in veterinary medicine since a young child, Darren took to both the academic and physical demands of his pursuit quite well. Long before he graduated, Darren discovered what a wildlife preserve vet tech does daily long before he applied to the same facility for a one-year internship.
Interns Act as Integral Support
Although the goal in an internship is to put to use in a practical setting academic skills learned, many wildlife preserves depend quite heavily upon vet tech wannabees to become vital and necessary members of the veterinary medical team. The intern, Darren knew, supports the doctor or doctors in many different ways while learning diagnostic skills, examination techniques and medicine administration management. Although Darren participated in academic surgical settings and other medical procedures, once on full time at the preserve as an intern, he participated in these practices on a daily basis. His year as an intern allowed him a great deal of time to develop husbandry skills for a wide variety of different species also learning valuable rescue and transport skills. He had already been exposed to philosophies of ethical and humane treatment that were further emphasized once he worked at the preserve full time.
His passion about animals that began at a young age took such a hold that Darren has decided to become a DVM.