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Sophomore Andrea Belluz Helps Make Animals Healthy


Andrea Belluz was not at her internship at Washington Boulevard Animal Hospital 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.”

Andrea also 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.

But for 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.”

Belluz now 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.

“She’s done 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 small.