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In The Clinic, Around The World

In The Clinic, Around The WorldFor Tufts’ Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine graduate Rachel Francis, her training has taken her farther – both figuratively and literally – than she could have ever imagined.

No. Grafton, Mass. [08.11.05] Rachel Francis (V'01) is applying her veterinary training in Sterling, Mass., not terribly far from the campus of Tufts’ Cummings School. But in her work as medical director at a no-kill shelter where she helps treat almost 4,000 cats and dogs per year – as well as her volunteer work in locations ranging from the Galapagos Islands to hurricane-ravaged Florida – she's ranged farther than she ever anticipated.

"Giving back to the community was always my goal," she told HealthyPet Magazine. "I've realized there is this whole other world. You can do so much good with so little."

Her experience in the VCA clinic at Animal Shelter Inc. has opened her eyes to a host of public health concerns.

"Working in the shelter is so much more public health-oriented," she told the magazine. "We see tons of infectious disease and abuse issues that private practice vets just don't deal with."

In a typical week of 10-hour shifts, Francis can perform up to 100 surgeries. Even then, the work she and her colleagues do isn't always enough to help all the animals in need.

"The biggest eye-opener for me has been to see the amount of work that needs to be done," she told the magazine.

Besides her work in Massachusetts, she's also traveled to Santa Cruz in the Galapagos Islands to work with a spay-and-neuter campaign aimed at reducing the dog population on the island, where stray dogs were forming packs and preying on endangered species.

"In third-world countries vets are trained to treat cattle and horses, and are not trained in small-animal medicine," she told HealthyPet. "It's very rewarding to start the program and leave it in their hands to carry on."

In August 2004, she also traveled to Florida to help care for pets that were injured during Hurricane Charlie.

"It was so unorganized when we got there," she told the magazine. "There were two vets and 600 animals in a MASH unit… The local vets down there were amazing. They would come in before and after work to help out, but they couldn't do it by themselves."

Francis told HealthyPet that she was proud of her experience in Florida. "We felt much better when we left, knowing that it would be in good hands."




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