Samantha Valdez: She Didn’t Choose The Pug Life, The Pug Life Chose Her


Nathalia Valdez , Associate-Editor-in-Chief

Working all weekend, back-to-back classes, and tons of homework is nothing new to Samantha Valdez, senior at Sahuaro High School. For the past two years she has been attending Pima JTED’s Veterinary Science program. She admits the program has given her the hardest challenges in her life, but it has been worth every struggle. Last semester she worked at a Veterinary Emergency Center that was open 24/7, and she often times worked from 8 am to 10:30 pm, then at the start of this year Samantha left the job and got another one in a General Practice Veterinary clinic. In order to be hired as a Veterinary Assistant you regularly have to be 18 and you should have your Veterinary Assistant licensing title. Samantha has neither, so obtaining a job in a Veterinary clinic while being a minor is very impressive. “By the time I get my high school diploma I will also receive my NAVTA certification which states I am an approved and licensed Veterinary Assistant by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America.”

Samantha plans to attend the University of Arizona in the fall and major in Veterinary Science, but her lofty goals don’t end there.  She is counting on attending the University of Arizona’s brand new Veterinary school and obtaining her DVM or Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine. After this she will be an official Veterinarian, “I am very interested in equine cardiology, reproduction, and large animal surgery so I am thinking about interning in a Equine Surgical Hospital in Phoenix, then moving back to Tucson and opening up my own Equine Surgical Hospital.”

All of Samantha’s hard work has paid off because she has accomplished something not many kids her age do, she has performed her own surgery on a baby pig, a procedure called castration. It is the same idea as neutering a dog. Samantha states, “These swines will grow up to live perfectly normal lives, the purpose for the castration is so they are not aggressive males in the future as they will be pet pigs, essentially the lack of testosterone will influence the pigs to be gentle and have a calm nature. They will be the perfect indoor or outdoor pet.”

Veterinary school is extremely competitive. Samantha, very aware of this, states, “The Veterinary field is something very hard to get into and once you’re in, you have to make yourself known. Thankfully I was able to have my first job be something I really enjoyed. I am currently working in a Veterinary Clinic as a Veterinary Assistant and I have learned a lot, I am very grateful for all of my teachers, instructors, and co-workers for teaching me everything I know and how to be a successful Equine Veterinarian in the future so I can teach the future kids of Veterinary Medicine.”