As I reflect on my year with the Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at Cornell, I think of my “last minute” decision to apply for a shelter internship after seeing Dr. Elizabeth Berliner speak at the annual ASPCA Cornell Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Conference. After listening to her lecture, I knew I needed to learn everything I could from Dr. Berliner. Luckily, I was accepted to this internship and was able to learn from the entire MSMP team and the amazing staff at the SPCA of Tompkins County. Before the internship, I could talk shelter medicine; now, I actually understand the concepts that encompass this diverse field and know how to apply them to any shelter I walk into.
Through the internship, I became a confident surgeon and clinician. Working at TSPCA each day allowed me to understand not only the medical side of sheltering, but experience the management and operations on a daily basis. My favorite aspect was participating in shelter consultations throughout New York State. Consulting with other shelters allowed a glimpse at the diversity of shelters out there. It also allowed critical thinking, problem solving, and the ability to improve the lives of animals and people in the sheltering world. Ultimately, working alongside extraordinary mentors, teachers, and friends made the internship an unforgettable experience.
Next, I am heading back home to Houston to work with various shelters in the area. Like many shelters in the southern United States, Houston struggles with a large population of homeless animals and a variety of infectious diseases. I feel well equipped to handle these challenges and hopefully can make a positive impact on this community that is near and dear to my heart.
– Dr. Mackenzie Gallegos (2019 Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Intern)