Small Animal Hospital volunteers
recognized for service

 By Sarah Carey

Some work many hours a week without pay, at the front desk of the UF Small Animal Hospital, helping animal owners get situated and comfortable upon arrival and providing an empathetic ear. Others work in treatment rooms and service areas of the hospital, assisting faculty veterinarians, technicians and students manage the needs of hospital patients by holding animals, cleaning cages and housing areas, and pitching in wherever they can be of service.

These are the volunteers, more than 40 in number, who donate time and energy to help the hospital run more smoothly. The group was honored April 22 with a special breakfast coordinated by hospital administrators, and featuring a full spread of food as well as goodie bags for each volunteer to take home.

“This program has grown exponentially this past year,” said Danielle Jonas, C.V.T., veterinary care manager and coordinator of the Small Animal Hospital student volunteer program. She coordinates schedules and communication for the hospital technician volunteers, all of whom are pre-veterinary students.

“They thoroughly enjoy their time here, which can be anywhere from three hours to 20 hours each week,” Jonas said. “They work in almost every service of the hospital, and participate in all aspects of each. They provide a hugely beneficial service for the hospital.”

Joy Dias, coordinator of the client advocate program, said this group is greatly appreciated by clients in the waiting areas.

“These volunteers greet people as they bring their pets into our hospital, offer warm smiles and open ears, and assist in many ways to help our clients feel comfortable while they wait,” Dias said. “Our client advocates are always willing to help out however they can and are a huge asset to our hospital.”

Volunteers Alexis Taylor and Bryce Mercuri.

Dr. Joy Dias and her group of volunteers.

Back row, student Jessica Leeman and Dre Datellas; front row, Caley Price, technician Lauren Hamil and student Jessica Coan.

Back row: Dr. Darryl Heard; technician Pia Oresjo; Dr. Paige Brock; Dr. Natalie Hall, all from the zoological medicine service; front row, Blake Tomlin; Carlos Lloveras-Fuentes; Lauren Stevenson; technician Sarah Purcell and Thao Nguyen.

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