I decided to help that little animal in the middle of a storm, during the night, and I guided him to his freedom. The winds hit hard and the tree branches passed over my head by the dark path of the muddy river.
DELTA DEL PARANÁ, Argentina — As a little girl, the river was my weakness. My passion for it influenced my career and I made history in Argentina.
I am the first veterinarian to work on a floating ambulance. My practice takes me on the Delta of the Paraná River. It was a natural process for me to realize this dream.
When I graduated with a degree in veterinary medicine, my island acquaintances began to ask me to take care of their animals. My work on the Delta began through word of mouth.
At first, I traveled in a boat with other people. Then, I bought a small, semi-rigid boat [also known as an inflatable]. Eventually, I was able to secure a boat with a cabin.
My boat is a floating, mobile veterinary office equipped with a stretcher, ultrasound machine, and microscope.
When I started, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to drop everything else to do this. I am young and have a long career ahead of me.
Yet, I always dreamed of being in this place. My work on the Delta is fulfilling and makes me happy; and my love of animals and people gratifies me.
Each day on the Delta varies from the next.
One day, I may treat a dog or a cat, and the next, exotic animals native to the region like capybaras and coipos [semiaquatic rodents], or biguá [large aquatic birds]. I even take care of farm animals like chickens, horses, sheep, and goats.
On the Delta, I see an average of six to seven patients per day.
While my tours are scheduled around the calls I receive for appointments, emergencies or weather circumstances can drastically change my day.
Every day is an anecdote; that’s what I like the most about the Delta and my work. Every day is different and exciting. Of course, most of the time, I end the day exhausted.
Some people say this is not a job for women – getting into muddy rivers, facing wild and dangerous animals, and withstanding extreme weather at any moment.
I do not care. I love my job and I am here to show women can do anything we want to. When I return home, my family awaits me including my two dogs, a pig, and two sheep.
I face many difficult moments in this profession. The animals are my patients and I treat them like my own pets. I suffer a lot when I cannot save an animal.
It makes me very sad when I cannot do anything to help them, but those moments are followed by others, like when I saved a sea elephant that had been lost, and I returned it to its home.
By that time, the pandemic hit hard, and we were not allowed to sail. I did not care. I was alone in the Delta with no one else around. Covid-19 was not a threat to me that day.
I decided to help that little animal in the middle of a storm, during the night, and I guided him to his freedom.
The winds hit hard and the tree branches passed over my head by the dark path of the muddy river. I didn’t hesitate. I was afraid but determined to help him.
That is part of the oath I took when I graduated: to save the lives of animals. I risked my job and my own life, but it was worth it.
The most gratifying thing is to see the happiness return to the eyes of animals – that tenderness when they look at you, or in cases of wild animals, return to their habitat and are free.
Today I define myself as happy. I would not change anything I have done, not even the mistakes, as they taught me so much.
I want to leave people with one message: when we take care of animals, they become a loving touch upon our souls.
If someone captures a wild animal, set it free. Its natural habitat is nature, not being enclosed between four walls or in a patio or garden.
If you are interested in a career as a veterinarian, go see fieldwork. Get a sense of what a veterinarian does and soak it up for a while.
I fight for the well-being of island animals and their families. By taking care of animals and providing them with preventive medicine, I also take care of the human members of that family.
Five years from now, I see myself with a more prominent multispecies family than the one I have now. I imagine having a physical veterinary clinic on the Delta, providing more and more services to the community.
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