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Following her dream to help animals
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Following her dream to help animals

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Hannah Lewis of Fredericktown has wanted to be a veterinarian since she was a little girl and now that she has been accepted into the University of Missouri's Veterinary Medicine Program, she is one step closer to her dream. 

"From my very first puppy 'Shadow,' to my crew of animals I have now, I have always loved animals and enjoy being around them," Lewis said. "I have been inspired by the veterinary medicine field in many ways, but the most inspiring part of working in this field is the fact that you get to witness amazing things every day."

Lewis said every day is new and exciting, but she will never forget her first day on the job.

"I was asked to help with a bovine dystocia, or a cow having trouble giving birth, and it was such a joyful time after the doctor helped the cow deliver her calf because it was alive," Lewis said. "Animals are amazing creatures, but so are the people who work with them."

Lewis said her time at Southeast Missouri University was spent with professors and classmates who held many of the same passions. 

"I was blessed to be a part of the Department of Agriculture there as an Agribusiness: Animal Science Major, with emphasis on Pre-Veterinary curriculum, and it definitely helped to foster my passion for becoming a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine," Lewis said. "Every time I was allowed to help work cattle or sheep for SEMO's farm I could just imagine myself doing this for years to come in the future."

Lewis started working at the Fredericktown Animal Hospital as a kennel attendant in 2014 and since has been promoted to a technician assistant as she has worked through school on her way to becoming a veterinarian.

"This experience has been eye-opening and enjoyable," Lewis said. "My coworkers are the best around. Everyone I have worked with, since I started and up until now, has helped me along the way."

Lewis said her coworkers never hesitated to help her learn new skills and could not have been more supportive.

"All of the doctors helped me as I was filling out my application for the veterinary programs I applied to, and they have helped to prepare me for the classes I will be taking in the future," Lewis said. "I love my coworkers and I am going to miss them so much when I move to Columbia."

Veterinary programs are challenging to get into, but Lewis was not only accepted to the University of Missouri but also to the University of Illinois.

"Many people that apply for veterinary medicine programs struggle to be accepted to just one, so I feel very blessed to have been accepted to both programs that I applied and interviewed for," Lewis said. "I had too many reasons for accepting my invitation to the University of Missouri. One reason is because the University of Missouri is located close to family and in-state."

Lewis said the second reason is that she has always dreamed of going to Columbia for vet school. She said she traveled there many times throughout high school and could not imagine herself going to a better school.

"My journey to this point in my life has been full of tough days," Lewis said. "It has been extremely difficult at times. I wasn't sure I was going to make it through Organic Chemistry. I would tell anyone that wants to follow this path that they need to start preparing as soon as possible."

Lewis said she is looking forward to attending Mizzou's veterinary medicine program with many of her fellow classmates from Southeast. 

"We had over 10 students from SEMO that got accepted to different programs, and this is an exceptionally high number," Lewis said. "I cannot wait to help each other through this program and working together to better each other as future colleagues." 

Lewis said her favorite memories from Southeast were getting to work on the David M. Barton Agriculture Research Center's farm. 

"The days were always great when I could get out of the classroom and do something that I loved, which was working with animals," Lewis said. "I also got to help some of my classmates learn how to handle different types of animals which was also a great experience." 

Lewis has already been asked to consider coming back to work at Fredericktown Animal Hospital once she has her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.

"I have to say, I hope this plan works out because I would love to come back and take care of all the animals and work with the clients that I have become so attached to here," Lewis said. "I would also enjoy getting to work with the same people who have helped to get me to this point in my life."

Lewis said her favorite part of working with animals is having the ability to help and care for something that can give so much love in return. She said the job can be heartbreaking at times but you have to look ahead and know you will have another opportunity to save the next animal.

"Overall I love working with animals because I get paid back with lots of purrs and wet kisses from my patients," Lewis said. "I can't think of anything better."

Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at vkemper@democratnewsonline.com

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