Shelter Medicine Intern 2018 Survey Results!

Dear readers,

Did you know that Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program at Cornell (MSMP at Cornell) has trained 14 Interns in Shelter Medicine since 2010, with 2 more currently in training? Early in 2018, we sent out a survey to our graduated interns to learn about their work post-internship. We finally have the results in and want to share what we found with you. We had a 73% response rate. Here are the results from the information we collected from those respondents. 

  • 100% of respondents are currently employed
  • 100% their work includes shelter medicine practice
  • The areas of shelter medicine they work in are varied

  • 87% are paid full-time

  • 100% have training responsibility

  • 100% of our shelter medicine intern alumni agree that MSMP at Cornell prepared them for their career
  • Suggested areas for increased exposure include high-volume animal control shelters, forensics/cruelty, and non-routine surgery

Here are some testimonials from our Internship in Shelter Medicine Program:

Having an opportunity to learn through the internship program was life changing. It wasn’t until later in vet school when I realized I could have a career as a shelter veterinarian and became very excited about that prospect. However, in vet school we received little to no shelter medicine training. While that is slowly improving since I’ve graduated, the internship provided me with the tools and knowledge to feel confident and component to work in a shelter. It’s extremely fulfilling knowing that I am able to use what I learned to help so many animals that may otherwise not have a chance. In my opinion, shelter medicine internships are invaluable in improving the welfare for shelter animals.  – Dr. D. Boes

The internship at MSMP was life-changing and without it, it is unlikely I would have pursued a career in shelter medicine. The internship set me up to think about the big picture and problem solve to be able to provide the best possible care for shelter animals – individually and as a population. It gave me the background to feel confident and comfortable to push for changes in policy and protocol to improve the wellbeing, care, and operations at our organization. – Dr. J. Boyd

My internship gave me the confidence to jump right into the organization I currently work for and make contributions. While I still had things to learn (and still do!) I had a strong enough basis to makes changes immediately.                 – Dr. K. Gollon

To learn more about the Internship in Shelter Medicine Program offered by Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program at Cornell, visit our website at or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Externships in Shelter Medicine: CU vet student Renee Staffeld gets hands-on experience at Richmond SPCA

Thanks to funding support from the ASPCA, we have been able to offer travel stipends to several Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine DVM students interested in experiencing unique hands-on training in shelter medicine through externships at different shelters around the country. Today we will hear from Renee Staffeld about her externship experience at Richmond SPCA. A big thanks to the ASPCA for supporting our students and the growth of shelter medicine! #sheltermedicinesaveslives

This June, I completed a two-week externship at the Richmond SPCA from the 18th – 29th. During that time I rotated through primary care surgeries as well as general shelter medicine and the behavior department. My days in surgery included dog and cat sterilizations as well as mass removals and hernia repairs. I was supervised by Dr. Angela Ivey, the SPCA Director of Veterinary Medicine, as well as Dr. Jaime Infantes-Ward, staff shelter veterinarian. During my days in general shelter medicine I performed intake exams on incoming animals and helped with procedures. During my time with the behavior team, I observed how the dog’s behavior is monitored and how they manage common behavioral issues such as severe anxiety, aggression and fear.

The Richmond SPCA has a full animal behavior department. I spent time with Jackie Laubacher, their staff behaviorist. She develops behavior plans for all the dogs that are having issues. I was able to attend their weekly behavior meeting where they discussed every dog and cat in the shelter that was having a behavior issue. The meeting included all of the shelter managers. The meeting was a chance to update each other on an animal’s progress and discuss changes to their current behavior plans. I was really impressed by their organization and dedication to improving the life of each animal. A strong behavior department makes a huge difference and I hope I find a shelter after vet school that puts as much emphasis on it as they do.

I also learned that it is possible to be part of a very successful shelter without feeling burnt out. They are very adamant there about people leaving at a reasonable hour. There were days when I offered to finish up intake exams or help with other tasks, but they insisted I go home, telling me that my life outside my veterinary job will be, and is important, too. They told me that there will always be more to do at the end of the day but unless there is an emergency situation happening, then it can wait. Looking back on my experience now I think that this is a big reason why they are a successful, large-scale shelter. They have developed ways to prevent their employees and volunteers from burning out. I could tell that people enjoyed working there and that many had been there for a long time.

It was amazing to see how a large-scale SPCA operates. Just a few years ago they opened up a non-profit veterinary hospital for low-income people in the area. Although I did not work on any publically owned animals, I was able to interact with their staff veterinarians and technicians. I learned a lot from all of them. My time at the Richmond SPCA has been the highlight of my summer so far. I am incredibly grateful for the chance I had to spend time there, and for the ASPCA Externship grant that made it possible. 

-Renee Staffeld, Cornell University DVM student