Two animals in particular inspired me. The first was a horse named Mikey. The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals removed Mikey from his neglectful owner, and placed him with my trainer. Due to extreme malnutrition his muscles were atrophied, every rib was visible, his hips stuck out unusually far, and the sides of his neck caved inward. His appearance was unbearable, but it was his soul that suffered the most. His eyes were empty, and contained no spirit. I could imagine his hatred for humans. I was determined to become at least one person in his life he could trust.

After several months of special feeds, medicine, and rehabilitation, Mikey’s physical appearance improved drastically, but he always remained weary of human interaction, which was difficult for some to comprehend. Yet Mikey made me understand with his increasing ability to tell me what he needed. He spoke to me through his actions and his eyes, eyes that were beginning to show signs of life again. He taught me to listen to each animal’s individual wants and needs in order to build a compassionate, respectful bond of love and kindness. Mikey gave me the passion, desire, and the patience I need to have, not only be able to understand animals, but to be a teacher and a friend.

During high school I met my second inspiration, a dog named Codie. He was an adorable German Shepherd mix. The moment I saw him, I bent down to hug him and ask for kisses. Shocked faces surrounded me as he slobbered all over me. I was told “Codie never kisses anyone”. Codie and I found ourselves beginning an astonishing relationship that would forever influence my future.

Over the next few months, Codie reminded me of what was important in life. He could see immediately the connection I had with animals. The one thing that Codie showed me, that Mikey had not, is that animals could understand me as well as I understood them. Realizing this, I became even more determined to make my dreams of helping animals a reality. Codie and Mikey have both passed on now but they are my true inspirations for working with animals.