Welcome! And thanks for stopping by.

I wanted to start things off by explaining a little bit more about why I decided to get this site up and running in the first place. This will be a theme that I’ll keep coming back to over the months and years to come, as I know that my own thinking and goals will evolve with time. However, I have done some pretty serious thinking already, and I want to share that with you, my fellow dreamers.

My first and primary goal is to provide valuable and practical advice for people who are considering a career in veterinary medicine, or a career change for those within the field already.

As a relatively new vet myself (I graduated from Tufts in 2009), I can still vividly remember every step along the way of my own path. I was that kid who was always checking out the animal books from the library, begging my parents to let me have every imaginable exotic pet, and even starting my own backyard egg business during middle school.

Now, at the grand old age of thirty-two years, I’ve gone from that animal-crazy kid to a full-blown practicing veterinarian. Not only that, but I’m also an officer in the U.S. Army, and I have a very rough assignment right now at a little Naval base in Sicily, Italy. (Note: sarcasm doesn’t always come through very well in writing). I went through all the classic stages required of those who dream of an exciting and fulfilling career as a vet: volunteering at a variety of vet clinics, studying hard in high school, college, and vet school, and passing way more exams than I care to remember.

That said, my path has included quite a few unique steps, and that’s what I think you’ll be most interested in. You see, I knew from the beginning that I didn’t really want to work with dogs and cats for my whole life. Sure, I love these animals as much as the next vet, and I will always treasure my family pets. I can deeply appreciate the satisfaction of supporting the important role our pets play in today’s world.

However, I was always much more interested in reading every page of Ranger Rick and National Geographic than in Dog Fancy or Pet Planet. I spent several years as a kid going to the National Zoo on a weekly basis, but I’ve still never been to a dog show. Don’t get me wrong: I’m glad there are plenty of vets who do love working with dogs and cats and never really wanted to do anything else.

It’s just that this is not me, and I don’t think it’s the dream of most kids who grow up to become college students, vet students, and finally vets one day. Most of us imagined working with a much wider variety of animals and even contributing to some of the really big issues facing our planet today: endangered species, emerging diseases, scarcity of resources, public health, and more.

I’ve launched this site to give you the resources you need to pursue these dreams. I’m talking about practical advice and step-by-step directions on how you can make it through school and land a dream job doing what you love.

This site will provide you with the resources you need to find out-of-the-ordinary opportunities within the broad field of veterinary medicine. Some of them might just be a one-week break you needed to reenergize before getting back to real life. Others might take you on a months-long adventure you always dreamed of. And who knows, maybe you’ll be introduced to something here that turns into a whole new career and life for you, one you never even imagined might be possible.

But I won’t stop there. After exposing you to these opportunities, I’m very aware of the fact that you also need a way to pay for them. I’ll give you the tools you need to get the funding you want, at whatever level is necessary to make these visions a reality.

I don’t have all the answers myself, not in the least, but I’m going to bring the experts to you. I’ll have interviews with veterinarians working in all sorts of cool and unique fields. The focus will probably lean towards the wildlife and zoo fields, but we’ll have plenty of input from epidemiologists, international development consultants, public health researchers, exotic animal clinicians, and even authors and other media personalities.

Basically, I want to help expose you to the wide world of veterinary medicine: reminding you or showing you for the first time that vets do a whole lot more than treat pet dogs and cats. Not only that, though. I’ll also be helping you learn how to make the right connections, write the best applications, and find the money you need to make this dream a reality.

Thanks for joining me!

84 Responses to “NEW HERE?”

  1. Sooty Mangabey December 28, 2012 at 4:59 am #

    This is exciting! I am at a turning point in my veterinary career and looking for opportunities outside of practice and to be re-energized!

    • Elliott December 28, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

      Awesome! Thanks for your comment. I hope that you’ll find some helpful resources here on the site. Please get in touch on my contact page if you ever have more specific questions or just want to talk shop!

      • Douglas Aldrich January 17, 2017 at 10:24 pm #

        Hey Elliot, I happened to see your site while looking at the army vet options. My girlfriend just had her interview at Tufts today, and was actually mentioning this route. Thanks for the stories. I see that (Dr.?) Art Covi mentioned the HPSP and his contact info. Would you mind sharing that?

    • Aditi September 21, 2014 at 1:34 pm #

      Hey Aditi here from India. You and your site are both amazing. You are providing great information. You are very very inspiring!

  2. Erin McCarragher January 2, 2013 at 5:21 am #

    Elliott, as a pre-veterinary student applying to schools this semester, I am so excited to have found your website. I love what you do here, and I’m thankful to know there are veterinarians that care so much about helping others. Your story is inspiring and I am excited to read more from you! Thanks for all you do!

    • Elliott January 2, 2013 at 7:07 am #

      Erin, thank you for your kind words. I’m so glad to know that you’ve found some of my stories inspiring and hope they can be useful to you as you continue along the long road of becoming a veterinarian! Please let me know if I can ever be of more specific help in any way.

  3. confoundingvariable January 2, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

    This looks great! I’m a public health student/practitioner focusing on zoonoses, and I’m looking forward to more information about the practice side of public health.

    • Elliott January 2, 2013 at 10:04 pm #

      Thanks for saying hello! It’s great to hear from someone outside the narrow little field of veterinary medicine who is interested in working on these same issues from another perspective. Keep me posted if you have ideas of how I can better address these more practical aspects of public health!

  4. Mark O'Keefe January 4, 2013 at 11:12 pm #

    Elliott, I love how this website truly shows how you are an uncommon veterinarian. I get a real sense of who your are, what you aspire to be and even who you spend your life with, not to mention your sense of humor. I’m friends with your Mom and Dad. You contacted me about Internet Marketing. I plan to get back to you soon. Just wanted to give you some kudos for your site.

  5. Art January 10, 2013 at 8:47 pm #

    Dr. Garber,

    I am the Program Manager for the Army’s HPSP. I am happy to help you with any questions that come up about the program. Several things have changed since you graduated in 2009. The Cost data worksheets are automated, and the Vets now have to apply to the FYGVE.

    Again, if I can be of assistance feel free to hand out my contact info.


    • Elliott January 10, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

      Hi Art, thanks so much for your comment! I know that a lot must have changed since I went through the program, so it will be great to have you as a resource for the most current information. I didn’t think that vet students had to apply for the FYGVE yet, though, even though that will probably be coming in the next few years. Thanks again.

    • Samantha Warner May 21, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

      Dr. Garber,

      I will be starting vet school in the fall and am very interested in applying for the HPSP program. Is it possible for you to pass along Art’s contact information to me, as well as any information you may have on the program?

      Thanks so much for everything you do–love the site.


      • Elliott May 22, 2013 at 8:02 pm #

        Hey Sam, congrats on getting into vet school! One big hurdle down, lots more to go. 🙂

        I’ll e-mail you Mr. Covi’s address so you can get in touch and ask him any questions you might have.

        Thanks for stopping by!

        • Erika March 16, 2014 at 10:06 pm #

          I have been admitted to one of the new vet schools and am curious if I will be automatically ineligible for some scholarships (especially the Army’s HPSP) because it is not yet an accredited institution.

          Thanks for your feedback!

          • Elliott April 3, 2014 at 8:11 pm #

            Erika, yes, unfortunately I think that’s the case. At least for the HPSP, the school has to be within the U.S. and already accredited by the AVMA.

    • Kelly July 14, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

      I see that this comment is pretty old, but I am a practicing veterinarian, and I am considering joining the Vet Corps. I have some questions about the FYGVE program. Wondering if experienced vets are required to take it, how long is it, and is it a PCS or TDY while doing it?

      Any info would be helpful.


      • Elliott August 22, 2014 at 6:20 am #

        The FYGVE isn’t currently required, and given your experience they would probably be okay with you choosing to skip it. It is a PCS and usually involves staying on for a second year in the same location in some other veterinary capacity.

  6. Liz January 18, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

    This is so exciting – I’m a penultimate year vet student, excited about initial life in practice, but also all the other non-GP opportunities that will arise along the way… very inspired looking at your site, thank you!

    • Elliott January 18, 2013 at 6:39 pm #

      Hey Liz, thank you for stopping by! I hope I can keep providing some fun inspiration for you as you finish school and get out into the world for some good clinical experience. I think that’s a good route for most of us vets to take — make sure we are competent in general practice and then go on from there when we are ready. Hope to see you around here again!

  7. Samar January 26, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    G’day from Australia! I came across your website through a friend. I love all the featured stories and the amazing tips you have explained so thoroughly. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and experiences. I am currently in my 3rd year of vet school. Whenever the going gets tough I read your inspirational words and it gives me so much to look forward to. Thank you for showing us that the possibilities and opportunities are great and many! I am very grateful for people like yourself who make an immense difference to the world and touch so many lives. Keep up the great work!

    • Elliott January 29, 2013 at 9:28 am #

      Wow, Samar, you are very generous! It’s encouraging to me to know that people like you are being inspired and motivated by the resources I’m sharing here. I hope that you’ll continue to stop by and let me know how your adventure is continuing!

  8. vimalraj January 29, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    I’m from india and an dedicated wildlife veterinarian (MVSc) and i’d like to join your organization.

    • Elliott January 29, 2013 at 9:30 am #

      Hi Vimalraj, thank you for your comments. That’s so cool to hear that you are a wildlife veterinarian in India. What kind of work are you doing now? My “organization” is really just a community of like-minded people who are interested in non-traditional veterinary careers like yours. Please let me know if you would like to share some of your experiences on the site!

  9. Maria February 8, 2013 at 11:35 pm #

    Hi Elliott, it’s wonderful to read your stories and suggestions! I’m a 3rd year vet student from Denmark where wildlife medicine doesn’t really exist. However, it has always been my great passion and reading about your love for the non-traditional, adventurous, and slightly odd reminded me of my own fascination. I hope to catch up on a couple of your good tips, as very few Danes have any experience in both this field, but also externships and internships abroad. Stay passionate!

    • Elliott February 9, 2013 at 5:09 pm #

      Maria, thanks so much for your comment. You’re my first reader from Denmark, so it’s especially fun to hear from you. I’m sorry to hear that wildlife medicine isn’t very strong there in your country — maybe you will be the one to begin a new program! There are so many interesting opportunities to gain experience around the world, and I hope you will be successful in connecting with some of them so that you can pursue your own passions. Skål!

  10. Karen Holm February 27, 2013 at 4:59 pm #

    Wow, you just summed up my veterinary career. I have been in private practice for 10 years, the last 5 spent in rural Virginia, and like you mentioned gotten very exhausted by ear infections, “UTIs” and snotty, vomiting cats. I stumbled across your site looking for externships etc for veterinarians. I too am trying to pursue a new avenue in zoo medicine. I have worked with these species in the past and there is nothing like it. Actually that is why I became a veterinarian.
    I am glad I found your site and it has inspired me that much more that I can follow my true passion. So thank you. Good luck to you in all your endeavors.

    • Elliott February 27, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

      Hey Karen, thank you for taking the time to write a comment! It means a lot to me to hear from people like you who are kindred spirits in this whole endeavor. You obviously know what you need to do in order to pursue this difficult but very realistic dream of yours, so I wish you the best of luck and hope that you’ll stay in touch as you continue moving in that direction.

      I would just say that you should totally get in touch with all the regular vet student externship coordinators to see if they would accept you as a graduate veterinarian. I honestly think that most of them would be willing to take you on for a few weeks as an unpaid extern/assistant, and this would get you started in making the necessary connections and getting the required recommendations from people in the field. I also really recommend attending the various zoo/wildlife vet conferences (can you make it to Austria this May?) as an important step in entering the field.

      • Karen Holm March 19, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

        Thanks for the encouraging words!! Since We last conversed, I have a meeting with the Maryland Zoo. I am so very excited. Finally I am starting my new path! I encourage everyone to keep fighting for what they want and believe in!
        Thanks again

      • Elliott March 23, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

        Thanks for letting us know, Karen! I hope it goes well. Keep me updated…

  11. Anna Bowker February 28, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

    Wow Elliot!!
    Cant believe this site, its incredible, I wonder how many people feel the same.. I also grew up wanting to be a vet as long as I can remember, went straight from school to varsity, qualified here in South Africa in 2007, did an internship here in Equine Medicine and Surgery, and then straight into private practice – which I love and have a deep seated passion for – but I am feeling like I got swept away and never stopped to do the things I’ve always wanted to do. Travelled to Turkey last year on a locum and around SA, now am back in SA but trawling websites looking for volunteer work to keep me busy for the next year – or longer. Just can’t stop this drive any longer.. need to explore and do some good.. found the Elephantasia ad in the kookaburra site and then eventually your site – WHAT an inspiriation! Thanks for reminding me why I love what I do. Cant wait to get going!
    Thanks again!

    • Elliott March 23, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

      Anna, I’m so glad that you’ve found the site helpful and inspiring! It sounds like you are well on your way to creating an awesome balance in your work and life. Please let me know if you come across any cool opportunities to share or if you would be willing to write up reviews about any of your unique experiences so far. Cheers, Elliott

  12. Tammy Nguyen March 30, 2013 at 1:20 am #

    Dear Elliott,

    I don’t think there are enough words to describe how grateful I am to have found your website! It’s like you read my mind on exactly what I want to do because I also want to travel the world, help animals, people our environment, and also be some type of veterinarian, although I wasn’t quite sure. I really wanted to be a wildlife biologist and a veterinarian, but I honestly did not know it is possible to incorporate the two careers into one! You truly are an inspiration and you’re totally doing the world a favor doing what you love doing and serving our country. I was really contemplating on joining the U.S. Army to pay my future vet school expenses, as I also don’t want to graduate with debts and not being able to follow through with my dreams. It’s still a lingering choice, but it’s an open option! I was wondering if I can do a phone or email interview about being an Army veterinarian, what it takes, if you have to go through basic training, etc. I know you have a three part blog about life in the Army, but I am full of questions haha. Please let me know! Thank you for your blog and for your time reading this!

    – Tammy

    • Elliott March 30, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

      Hey Tammy, thanks for your encouraging comments! I love knowing that there are people like you out there interested in the same sorts of things as I am.

      I’m always happy to talk or e-mail more about the requirements and process of becoming a vet in the Army. I’ll shoot you an e-mail and we can continue the conversation there.

      Thanks again for writing,


  13. Mira Ziolo April 11, 2013 at 6:16 am #

    Hey Elliot!

    Fantastic site and all of my respect to you for doing this! I’m a veterinarian myself, been out in practice for several years (2007 OVC grad) and now pursuing an Interdisciplinary graduate degree to help me navigate One Health/EcoHealth issues at wildlife-human interfaces. Like yourself, I always wanted something different from my DVM degree, and have been on some twisted and fun roads. But I can’t stop reflecting on what an awesome profession it is!
    So many of us tend to forget… so thanks for this!

    • Elliott Garber April 15, 2013 at 11:45 am #

      Mira, thanks for stopping by! It’s fun to hear from others like you who are at a similar place in their careers as I am. I agree, of course, that we have a pretty awesome profession. With so much nay-saying recently, that little fact can be easy to forget! I hope you’ll keep us all updated as your own uncommon career continues to evolve.

  14. Kirstie Inglis May 6, 2013 at 5:30 am #

    Hi Elliott,

    I’ve been a mixed practice vet from the UK for the last 10 years (Liverpool University 2003 graduate.) I moved to New Zealand about 8 years ago, and have worked in a variety of mixed, CA and LA practices over that time. I too, stumbled across your website whilst planning a career direction change into wildlife health/public health – something I had always wanted to get into, and now’s the time to do it. I have to commend you for a really excellent site. You obviously have fantastic initiative and am sure you’ll succeed in your career goals! It looks like you had mainly set the website up to help expose undergrads to the variety of vet work on offer – but I know many graduates with several years experience will also be finding it tremendously interesting. Sometimes the hardest part is just picking one of the many career options for vets out there! (and then getting paid for it!) The interviews of other uncommon Vets have been particularly worthwhile to watch – it’s difficult to get an appreciation of exactly what “uncommon vets” are actually doing day to day, if you don’t meet them in your “in practice” working life.- so thank you very much for that – it’s horizon expanding! I’m sure many others are following and appreciating also.
    Keep up the great work! (and enjoy Sicily whilst you’re there!)


    • Elliott May 6, 2013 at 11:33 am #

      Kirstie, wow, thank you for these encouraging words!

      It seems that every time I find myself discouraged and wondering if this website is really worthwhile, I hear from someone like you and that gives me the inspiration to keep going. So thanks for that.

      I’ve tried to keep things interesting for people at every stage in their uncommon veterinary journeys, but I know that a lot of my content has been geared more towards students than other vets like myself. I’m glad to know that you are still finding it helpful and interesting, and I hope this is the case for others as well. I’ve really enjoyed doing my podcast interviews, too, and I’m excited to get back on schedule with that after my board exams next month.

      I hope you’ll let us know how things are developing as you explore the possibilities for a career transition of sorts.



  15. Katie May 9, 2013 at 1:17 am #

    Hi Elliot,

    Everything you wrote is exactly how I feel about what I want to pursue in veterinary medicine. I graduated from UC Davis with a BS in Animal Science last spring and in the process of applying to vet schools/ getting more experience. I don’t have the best grades and wondering if you have any advice on my approach to applying to schools. I grew up reading National Geographic like you, growing up going to zoos and seeing wildlife, then volunteering at SF Zoo, doing a keeper internship with oakland zoo (primates), volunteering at UC Davis Raptor Center (assisting with rehabilitation) and some other internships as well (large animal radiology,ophthalmology,etc). Would you recommend getting more companion animal experience since most of mine is exotic? I really want to thank you for this site. It really has given me so much inspiration to keep at my goals. So many veterinarians and others have really tried to push me away from zoo medicine/wildlife (saying there is so little jobs, terrible pay, etc) and this just gave me a lot more hope for opportunities I never thought that much about and how many opportunities there really are so thank you!

    • Elliott May 9, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

      Katie, thanks for taking the time to write these encouraging words! It sounds like we are indeed kindred spirits in our veterinary interests, and it’s been so fun to discover over the last few months that there are lots of us out there.

      It seems like you should have plenty of diverse experience already to be a competitive applicant for vet schools. Unfortunately the grades really are an important piece of the puzzle, so I’m not convinced that getting small animal clinical experience would be that helpful on top of everything else. I never worked or volunteered in a small animal clinic until I got to vet school — all my pre-vet experience was with zoos, livestock, and horses. I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt, but I wouldn’t put too much time into that at the expense of developing yourself into a really serious and competitive wildlife health applicant. As you know, Davis has a great program for this, so you want to convince them that you’re really serious about pursuing that route and sticking with it.

      It’s true that the zoo medicine field is pretty competitive right now. There are too many residents and not enough traditional zoo vet jobs! But if you’re willing to expand your horizons into the realms of wildlife health, research, One Health, etc, I’m confident that there are plenty of cool jobs for everyone. If you haven’t listened to my podcast with Mike Cranfield yet, he has some good advice along those lines as well.

      Thanks again for writing!

  16. Victoria Robles June 26, 2013 at 6:21 pm #

    Hi Elliot!

    I’ve recently just discovered your website and after scouring nearly every article I wanted to thank you for such an amazing contribution. I’m currently 15 almost 16 heading into my junior year of highschool and I am seriously thinking about heading into zoological medicine. Although I would also like to work with endangered and exotic species in the wildlife as well. I’ve done a ton of research on different colleges, majors, careers, etc etc. I think I’m going to apply to UC Davis as an undergrad majoring in zoology. But my question to you is that, because I am still young there are not many opportunities for me, so what could I do right now at my age to get a head start on being accepted into veterinary school? That’s kinda my main priority because I know those schools are very hard to get into and extremely competitive. I have already looked into different zoos in California such as the Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Ana, etc and they have volunteer work starting at 16 so I plan on doing that. On a final note I just want to thank you very much for creating such a helpful website. I know you get this often but you truly are a visionary to an aspiring vet like myself. Thanks again and hopefully you get a chance to reply or email me with any information you have.


  17. Jane July 13, 2013 at 4:11 am #

    Hi Elliott, I just came across your site! My dream is to become a Vet!!

    • Elliott July 15, 2013 at 6:32 pm #

      Hey Jane — I’m so glad you discovered it! I hope you’ll continue following that goal over the years ahead. It’s not an easy path but totally worthwhile.

  18. Linda August 3, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

    I read your short story “No Dog Left Behind” and felt I was just beginning a wonderful journey. I left so much was left unfinished at the end of the story. I joined this website to learn the rest of the story. Where or what is the rest of the story for Solo & Cole?

    • Elliott August 3, 2013 at 8:09 pm #

      Linda, thanks for reading the story! I see that you signed up for my new release e-mail list, so you’ll be the first to hear when I publish something new. I’m working on another short story set in Afghanistan featuring Cole and with some news of Solo, but the bigger project is a full-length novel that I hope to have ready within the next year sometime. Thanks again for saying hello!

  19. Gayle August 11, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

    This site is WONDERFUL! I’m a non-traditional pre-vet student, hoping to ultimately work with wildlife. Your site inspires me greatly! I know that time is of the essence in my case, so I want every step toward my goals to count! Kudos to you for following your dream and for wanting to help others to achieve theirs.

    • Elliott August 20, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

      Thanks for your encouraging words, Gayle! I’m glad you’ve found the site helpful and hope you’ll keep coming back for information and inspiration as you continue along this journey.

  20. M.junaid sohrani August 21, 2013 at 6:25 am #

    Hello Mr vet. I really appreciate your love and devotion to your profession.keep it up.
    My name is sohrani I am 3rd year student of DVM. AND loves wildlife and zoo animals . You have inspired me alot. want to ba wildlife vet.

    • Elliott August 24, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

      Sohrani, it’s great to hear from you — welcome to the site! I hope you continue to be inspired as I share more stories of vets who are doing this type of work.

  21. Kayla September 4, 2013 at 12:20 am #

    Hello Dr Garber, my name is Kayla and I am a sofmore in high school in Wyoming. Our school is pushing us to learn about the careers we want to do and I was hoping to find out a little more about being a veterinarian at a zoo. I have heard that it is really hard to get into being a vet at a zoo but I dont really think I would want to be a vet if it isnt at a zoo. I was wondering if you had any advice or information for me to go the extra mile for me to make my dream a reality. I was thinking of trying to be a vet at the Denver, CO zoo and I was also wondering if you knew much about that zoo and if it is any easier to get into. Thank you so much for all you help and I hope to get some tips from you.

    • Elliott September 7, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

      Kayla, it’s great to hear from you! I love Wyoming, with all it’s beautiful wide open spaces and majestic mountains. I actually spent two weeks working with a mixed animal veterinarian there during my third year of vet school.

      I just did an interview with a zoo veterinarian that should answer some of your questions, so feel free to check it out here. You can also click on the Zoo tag or category to find all my posts that are relevant for zoo medicine.

      I don’t personally know anything about the Denver Zoo, but I don’t think that it would be any easier to get a job at than any other big U.S. zoo. This doesn’t mean that it would be impossible, of course! It will just require a lot of hard work and perseverance on your part in order to make this dream happen. Good luck!

  22. Alina November 15, 2013 at 3:46 am #


    This is awesome. Thank you! I’m at that point in vet school (3rd yr) where I feel like everyone around me already knows their top 3 choices for an internship, and I’m still on the fence about what I want to do! I’ve been equine tracked my whole life, and still love the large animals.. but recently have been getting more involved in public health. I spent 5 weeks in Ethiopia with Donkey Sanctuary doing a mule lameness project and loved it! My ideal job is out there… I just have no idea where to look. I like public health, I love outreach, I love traveling, and I like all livestock. Not sure what the best way to do this is… especially if I still want to practice.

    I’m sort of worried, as clinics and free blocks for externships approach, I have no idea what to focus on… I decided to dabble in USDA/APHIS, a swine externship , and some equine opportunities

    I had a request… for a post comparing nonprofit work/research to that in the government sector. Pros and Cons.. internationally and domestically.. and the opportunities in this realm.


  23. Chloe Lo November 15, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

    Hi Dr. Garber,

    One of classmates found this website and now the whole vet building knows about your website.

    I’m a second year D.V.M student from NCYU Taiwan. I’ve traveled to seven countries (for training or conference purposes in various fields) using funds and scholarships ever since 2008. Would love to hear more about you getting those “hundreds of funds and scholarships that each worth thousands of dollars”. How exactly did you do it? And to think that I thought i was good enough to get seven in 5 years, gee….. :p

  24. Lisa Chase January 14, 2014 at 8:29 am #

    Dr. Garber,
    I am SO glad I found your website. I am at a crossroads in my veterinary career and am really interested in working in the field of conservation/wildlife medicine. I have been searching for resources but only seem to find opportunities for veterinary students. I was starting to feel like I was just too late and there was no way someone who has been out of school for over 5 years could switch paths. You have given me hope. This is exactly what I was looking for.
    Thank you!

    • Elliott January 31, 2014 at 12:32 pm #

      This is the kind of message I love to get, Lisa! Thanks for taking the time to write. I hope you can continue to find encouragement and resources that will help you as you make these next steps.

  25. Katie Schwartz January 27, 2014 at 3:09 am #

    This blog is so great! I am so excited that I found it! I am an undergraduate at Oklahoma State University, working towards a major in Natural Resource Ecology and Management, with a Wildlife/Pre-Vet option, and then hopefully on to vet school! So much of the information here is pertinent to me, even though I’m not in vet school yet. I’ve even seriously thought about the Army scholarship to help pay for school. Thanks for taking the time to help all of us up-and-comers out! It is so great to know there are others out there who are like minded and give me proof that I can actually succeed at the goals I have set for myself. Again, thank you!

    • Elliott January 31, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

      Thank YOU for your generous words and for taking the time to write here! One of my vet tech soldiers is going to be starting undergrad at Oklahoma State in the fall with the plan to continue on to vet school and then get back in the Army. Best of luck as you continue on this path!

  26. Denise March 31, 2014 at 8:45 pm #

    I’m so glad I found your blog. As a child I knew I wanted to work with animals. Being a first generation college student there is a lot of pressure on me to get a college degree. Throughout my high school career and early in my undergraduate studies I was told I will never be able to attain a DVM. I fell off track and my grades slipped. I became interested in nutrition and have found out I can apply that in the Veterinary field. I have much more perseverance and have become more persistent in attaining my dream as a Veterinarian. This blog is great because I am in between becoming part of the Public Health field or in Zoological Medicine. I can’t wait to read more on how to make my dream come true. Thank you so much!

    • Elliott April 3, 2014 at 8:05 pm #

      Thanks for your comment! I know some amazing veterinary nutrition specialists. Some of them work in the zoological medicine field, so that is definitely a dream you can continue to pursue.

  27. Daniela April 27, 2014 at 11:24 pm #

    I just found you on twitter yesterday, and by what I’ve been reading I am very interested. I study veterinary medicine in Córdoba, Spain , but I have duel nationality (Spanish/English) which I hope will be of use in the near future. I am really intrested in conservation of endangared species but have no idea on where to start. I hope you could help!

    • Elliott April 30, 2014 at 7:25 am #

      I sent this response by e-mail but thought I’d put it here for everyone else’s benefit:

      The best things you can do now are studying hard and trying to set up some interesting internships/externships during your school breaks with veterinarians who are currently working in the field. There are lots of opportunities that I’ve talked about on my blog, but you can also find good lists by exploring the following sites:

      The American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians has a running list of internship opportunities (scroll through the jobs first) here:

      The American Association of Zoo Veterinarians has a similar list here:

      Ohio State University has a nice site at:

      And the AVMA’s, which you can get through my little article about it here:

      You should also try to connect with some of the faculty at your university who are involved in wildlife research. You might be able to do a summer project or something with them. These personal connections are invaluable if you want to progress and be successful in the field.

      Good luck!

  28. Taylor Price April 30, 2014 at 2:08 am #

    I am a 17 year old and I want to be a veterinarian. I have questions about how to get started as a veterinarian in the army now and once I go off to college (I am a junior in high school) it would be greatly appreciated if you could email me at

    • Elliott April 30, 2014 at 7:27 am #

      Taylor, it’s great that you’re already starting to think so seriously about your future studies and career! I’m happy to answer any questions you have, but make sure you check out everything I’ve already written about being a veterinarian in the military, which you can find here:

  29. Divya May 21, 2014 at 1:20 pm #

    Hi Dr. Garber,
    You are definitely inspirational! I have found out so much more information that I have been looking for, just by visiting your site. I really value all your advice and am actively seeking opportunities. I myself am a first year veterinarian and already know that cats and dogs is not for me (even though I love my dog to bits).
    I picture myself working in Africa with Cheetahs (I know it’s going to happen!) and was wondering if you happen to know of any internship/externships? I was also interested in the Gorilla Doctors project and was wondering do they take in First years as volunteers??
    Also where do you practice out of? Is there an internship or volunteer opportunity working with you?

  30. Esteban June 9, 2014 at 9:20 pm #

    Dear Dr. Garber:

    Very glad for knowing about you. I am a Mexican Vet (sorry for my lack of English command) and, for several years, I have thought of my self as a very weird specimen. After only a couple of years working as a vet, I quit, mainly due to the frustrating enviorment to develop a carreer in Mexico. Here, in my country, the people are not willing to pay even for minor medical interventions for their pets. A shame.
    So, I went back to the school and develop a second route as an epidemiologist and a Public Healt Specialist. I have thrive on those fields and now (and since several years) I am a Civil Servant in the Minitry of Health in my country, mainly focused in the evaluation of health services. Weird, isn’t?.

    Well, I am sure I will be checking your post frequently. For me, it is a pleasure to know people like you, ambitious and permanently looking for further challenges in the life.

    All best for you and all your readers.


  31. Siti Lia June 22, 2014 at 4:22 pm #

    Hai Mr. garber, my name is Lia from Indonesia.
    I found your blog and this is super awesome.
    I decided to study vet med not too long ago and now I got accepted in university majoring in vet med. Somehow I got interested in learning about wild life vet.
    But I guess wild life vet even vet med is not a very popular profession here in Indonesia, so I’m very lack of information about vet med and wild life vet here. Also vet med in Indonesia, Europe, and US are different.
    I wish to continue my study and become a vet med in RVC because so far that’s the only place I know which has postgraduate wild animal health program. Is there any other university that has wild life animal postgraduate program? Or can I become a wild life vet even if I don’t take wild life major? And do you know any internship or internship for students in Asia?

    I’m sorry I ask a lot of question. I really hope you can help me figure out how to be a future excellent vet 😀 Thanks Mr. Garber.

  32. Victoria June 29, 2014 at 10:25 am #

    Excellent! I really love your idea on how to support us uncommon vets to grow and get to our goals! Especially when it seems that all got stuck at the moment 😀
    Greetings from Lapland

  33. Trayce August 1, 2014 at 8:41 pm #

    I find myself in a little bit of a unique situation. I am an officer (O-2 currently) in the Coast Guard who is planning to get out in the next 2 years (after I finish my committment) so that I can apply to vet school. As far as I know, there are no such programs that put you through vet school active duty, so I have to get out. To me, that doesn’t make much sense especially if there is a demand for vets in the military forces. I was talking to a CWO at my current command about doing the military vet thing and I realized that I honestly haven’t looked into it enough to consider it as an option. But, is it true that I have to get out of the military? Or.. are they looking for people who are already officers that are looking into this route?


    • Elliott August 22, 2014 at 6:17 am #

      Trayce, unfortunately I do think you have to get off active duty in order to go through vet school. You might be able to stay in some sort of reserve status while in school, which could help towards years in service, promotion, etc, but I’m not sure. Most people in your situation either use their GI Bill benefits to pay for vet school or save that for their kids and apply for HPSP. You do get an advantage with the HPSP if you have prior service. Good luck.

  34. Sam November 19, 2014 at 9:57 pm #

    Your blog has been recommended to me several times, and I’m so happy to finally start using it as a resource for inspiration and otherwise! I think it’s interesting that you mentioned that you feel that most aspiring veterinarians are interested in doing more than (small animal) general practice work. Most times, I feel like they are in the majority, and those of us interested in the bigger picture are the ones in the minority. I’ve also always felt that it is interesting that most of the general public has such little knowledge about other occupations that veterinarians can have other than working at your neighborhood practice. Looking forward to reading more! – first year veterinary student

  35. Steph January 7, 2015 at 2:42 am #

    Wish this was all available back in the day! That wouldn’t happen to be you doing an echidna post-mortem at what was then the indefatigable Anabelle Olsson’s Airport Vet Surgery in Cairns would it?

    • Elliott January 7, 2015 at 7:14 am #

      Yes, it is! Do you know her??

      • Steph January 29, 2015 at 2:55 pm #

        That’s crazy! Such a very small ‘uncommon vet’ world! Went up there a few times during vet school including volunteer work & clinical rotations. What an unbelievable place & the best people. Great memories incl. first time handling saltwater crocs to lion cubs in the house haha good times!

  36. Brianna January 8, 2015 at 4:40 pm #

    This is such an amazing site… thank you for developing this. Looking for wildlife/exotic experiences can be difficult at best. I really appreciate this website and cant wait to start inquiring to all these opportunities!!! 😀
    UCD’s Veterinary program is focused on small and large animal so I need all the help I can get.

    Thank you
    Brianna Creighton 🙂

  37. Hector Lozano February 27, 2015 at 12:03 am #

    Dr. Garber, by reading some of your post, it seems you might be able to help me with a project Im working on for my girlfriend. My GF lives in mexico and is a Vet. She has volunteered at many zoos in mexico and one in san antonio, tx. with an internship at Sea World. Due to her English, I have volunteered to help her. She is wanting to go to Australia to work, whether in a zoo or organization specializing in Exotic animals. there are so many programs out there, but so far I have not had any luck finding something she’s looking for. She’s looking to stay there a min 3 months to a year….looking for something that would pay her (not really concerned about how much they pay)…..maybe obtain a certification or training to add to her degree/resume. If there is anything you can do to help or point me in the right direction, I would greatly appreciate it!! Thanks in Advance!!

  38. Genevieve May 3, 2015 at 12:50 am #

    This is an amazing site you have created!! My daughter is crazy about animals and wants to become a vet. She has researched vet programs and has a plan of action and even though she is only 9, she is very focused and determined! She started reading your site and can’t get enough! Thank you for sharing your knowledge and your passion!

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  40. Wasswa Auther June 13, 2015 at 11:39 am #

    Hi Dr Elliot
    Am Wasswa Auther Tamale from Uganda am in my 2nd year in a Vet school at Makerere University.Am really impressed and encouraged by your words.I really love dogs and can’t wait to become a professional veterinarian.
    Looking forward to reading a couple of encouraging words from your website.

  41. maksud July 30, 2015 at 9:07 pm #

    Hi Dr. Elliot !
    Im from Macedonia , southeasteurope, im a fild veterinarian and I would like to be part of your web site . Im working whith large animal and I have almost everyday new situations whith those animal. If you can help me for beeing part as a freelancer for large animal fild.
    Thank you !!!

  42. Jean Prout July 30, 2015 at 10:51 pm #

    Hello Mr. Elliott Garber,

    I find your post very informative, and I can sympathize and relate to you on some level. I have several relatives that were in the military before me, but I had no idea what the REAL experience would be like. Joining the Army was really hard for me because I was a daddy’s girl and a late bloomer at the age of twenty. I served for five long years as an enlisted soldier. Since my honorable discharge, I bore two beautiful blue-eyed baby girls. After I had my babies, I had to make some life-changing decisions. One of those decisions was to change my major in college. For reasons that you stated in your post, I can agree that being a veterinarian is a good financial decision.

    So, finally, I’ve considered becoming a veterinarian officer. I have been considering the Health Professions Scholarship Program. I haven’t talked to a recruiter yet, because I haven’t got my baccalaureate degree, and I know that it takes this type of degree to get started.

    From the tone of your post, it sounds like you have been passionate about animals all of your life, and it seems like the most reasonable and logical thing to do for your career. I’ve had a love for animals since I was little, but I didn’t go all out or go crazy with them. As in, I didn’t open up every book about animals; I sort of just learned about them through working with them physically. I got my experience from growing up on a ranch most of my childhood. My conundrum is this: I’m good with animals… and most people say I am, but am I fit to be a veterinarian? How do I find out, before making a solid decision?

    I’m curious to see if there is something specific for me to do out there… Maybe you will be able to answer my conundrum? At any rate, I am in the process of reading through your posts for the first time, and I have enjoyed reading them so far. I look forward to hearing back from you on whatever advice you could give me. I’m excited about the pursuance of some of the same things you have gone through already!

    P.S. 32 is not old!

  43. Ashley August 18, 2015 at 3:19 pm #

    Hi! I am so thankful to have found this site. I have a BS in Public Health and graduated 9 years ago..yep and I have decided to go back to school for my DVM. can you say nervous much? I am currently completing some pre-reqs before applying–16 credit hours of chemistry!? whew. I am very interested in the scholarship through the Army. My ex-husband was in the Army so I have experienced that lifestyle. I am curious as to the officer training for this without me being in ROTC. Is that something I would qualify for with my Bachelors? The website states you can be direct commissioned as an officer. Do you have more information about this? Any advice would be helpful! I currently volunteer at an animal shelter as well as a wildlife rescue/rehab facility. Thank you for all the information you post! It helps a lot!

  44. Alison August 22, 2015 at 5:07 pm #

    Dr. Garber,

    Thank you so much for putting this site, and your experiences, out there for interested people to find. I am in my first year of vet school and after a year or so of thinking about it I have decided to apply for the HPSP scholarship. It looks like you have done some pretty amazing things in your years as an army vet and I look forward to reading more about your experience 🙂
    I have one question for you if that’s ok, if present you could tell the HPSP applicant you one thing from your experiences or one thing that you wish ‘past you’ had known, what would it be?

    Thank you! :))

  45. shelly stephens August 27, 2016 at 9:57 pm #

    dear dr elliott,

    i am 48 yrs old working towards my very first associates degree in nursing. i love medical and always wanted to be a vet. i had a kid instead and now i am conflicted about my age. i figured i was tooooooo old to pursue that dream. at least nursing is still in the medical field. the problem is i keep thinking about my love of and wanting to work with animals.

    i think of my age and the financial cost of vet school and the time involved with externships………..i’d be at least 60. is it too late for me? any other advise or suggestions and time frames to be able to work with something in the animal field?????



    ps……… i don’t have any problem with relocating anywhere, but at the moment i do have 2 dogs.

  46. Maria September 25, 2016 at 7:19 am #

    Dr. Garber,
    My name is Maria, from Uruguay. I am a 31 year old vet, and I have been working in equine reproduction since I graduated. Wg have a masters degree and currently teach at the therio institute in my country’s university. But I want a career direction chanGe and I feel lost. This feeling has made me feel miserable and guilty for not finding the right path from the begging of my career. Your site and the testimonies here have made me feelthat I am not alone. Unfortunately, opportunities are scant in my country, and even in my region, but your blog has given me inspiration not to give up and just settle for l job don’t like anymore. Thank you very much. I love veterinary medicine, but the hardness of the path sometimes makes me forget it.
    With admiration,

  47. Crystal December 5, 2016 at 1:45 am #

    Hey I’m only a teenager and I’m volunteering at a humane society, my dream Is to become a vet and build my own business. My whole life evolves around animals I take strays and feed them and care for them I’ve never wanted to be anything else than a vet. Elliott you inspire me so much theirs so much information on this page that I am confident about becoming a vet.

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