Paws and Effect

Glorianne Vazquez-Arnal examing dog with child pet owners present

Story/photo courtesy of Iowa State University Foundation

When veterinary medicine student Glorianne Vazquez-Arnal volunteered for a clinical service project at Crow Creek Reservation last summer, she didn’t expect that the three-day experience would claim a permanent place in her heart.

“It was so much more than I thought it would be. I will forever cherish the conversations with the locals and learning about their history,” says Glorianne, who will graduate in May.

Glorianne, alongside College of Veterinary Medicine faculty, staff, students, alumni, and volunteers, journeyed to Fort Thompson, South Dakota, to provide spay, neuter, and preventive care to Tribal members’ dogs, cats, and horses. It was demanding work, but Glorianne says she is grateful for the opportunity and for the scholarship support — both the Elfriede Apteker Scholarship and Salsbury Endowment Fund for Veterinary Medicine Scholarships — that made her participation possible.

Based in a temporary small animal hospital and equine clinic, the Iowa State team treated more than 450 animals. Between appointments, Glorianne engaged pet owners in conversation, learning all she could about Tribal values. She was captivated by their tight-knit and supportive culture. “I’ve never seen that anywhere else,” she says.

Now in its 15th year, the program has cultivated special bonds with Tribal members. “By returning every year, we get to know the people and learn more about the community’s culture,” says Dr. Joan Howard, program coordinator and clinical associate professor of veterinary clinical sciences. “And we’ve seen the overall health of the animals improve.”

Says Glorianne, “To see the love they have for their animals and community was truly inspiring.” \

May 2024