Andrea Belluz was not at her internship at Washington Boulevard
in Whittier for
very long when she came face to face with both the poignant rewards and hard
realities of working in the animal-care field. A seriously injured Chihuahua was brought in
after being hit by a car. It did not look like it was long for the world. “The
dog’s intestines were ruptured, and its owners were hysterical,” recalls
Belluz. “While they were panicking, we got the dog on IVs and the doctors were
eventually able to save it.”
vividly remembers a less frantic experience — the first dog she saw euthanized.
“The process was fast, but it was pretty hard for me.” Such is the dilemma for
people who love animals and enter a profession to care for them and ease their
suffering — many of the stories do not have happy endings.
Andrea, veterinary medicine is a calling she couldn’t ignore. Initially a
business major at LMU, Andrea was not very excited about her choice. She
realized she would be a lot happier studying an area she already loved. “Ever
since I was a little girl, I liked animals,” she explains. “I used to read
books about dog breeds just for fun. I had a little Barbie with a veterinarian
kit. So I decided to try what I really want to do.”
focuses her studies on biology — with a minor in business, for she plans to
open her own veterinary facility some day. Following jobs at boarding kennels,
her internship at the animal hospital provides valuable first-hand experience
for Andrea on the technical side as well. Belluz helps the doctors with urinary
and blood tests, restraining animals during checkups, and filling
prescriptions, among other tasks.
very well, and she’s learned fast,” says supervisor Mary Galindo, who works
with Andrea on most weekends. “It’s not an easy job. We have a fast-paced
hospital here, with five doctors, so it is constantly busy.”
And that suits Belluz just fine. “From the first moment I
walked in here, it was hands-on training. I’m learning so much about the field.
To be able to see the doctors diagnose things so quickly and then be able to
fix them — that’s rewarding.” In fact, Andrea plans to continue her
internship into the summer and beyond. Good news for creatures, great and