Come Join Us!
Sign Up for a 2016 HSVMA-RAVS Clinic

November 23, 2015
by Paul Breckenridge, DVM, HSVMA-RAVS Senior Staff Veterinarian

Ever wonder what it is like to go on a clinic with HSVMA-RAVS? What attracts, even compels, volunteers to return year after year to sleeping mats on hard gym floors, irregular showers that might be hot, working 14, 16, 18 hours a day? How you can even contemplate difficult and extensive surgeries in a community center, school gym, small church, or Legion Hall?

We go from a sense of service to help desperately poor, native communities with little or no access to veterinary care, but we always get more than we give. We get the proud smile of a child bringing their animal friend for his first checkup. We get the tears of a woman hugging and kissing her dog for the first time in a year after we removed a large, odorous tumor from her dog’s neck. We get stories of nations with rich culture before Europeans arrived, and of struggles to keep that culture. We get the gratitude of local animal control and public health officers as they struggle to improve the health of the animals and the people of their nation.

We go to improve our skills. Students from schools around the world, learning new ways to look at veterinary medicine from each other and receiving instruction from extraordinary veterinarians and veterinary technicians in a supportive environment. Practicing veterinary professionals from all across the country sharing ideas and new techniques. New friends are made on each trip; some become friends for life.

Of course we go for the animals—the puppies and kittens, the happy and healthy, the sick and struggling, the dying and helpless. The amazing animals that steal our hearts at every clinic as we see the bond between people and animals triumph over tragic adversity and blossom in the joy of unconditional love.

Each person that comes on a RAVS clinic brings their own reasons, their own hopes, their own expectations, and each leaves with something more: their own RAVS story. Some of those stories can be read in past issues of this newsletter, new stories are made on every trip. Now hold on for a wild ride through a RAVS clinic courtesy of Dr. James Ransom, a RAVS volunteer.

HSUS RAVS Pine Ridge 2015 (1920 x 1080) from James Ransom on Vimeo

Catch your breath...are you ready to make your own RAVS Story? It begins by signing up for a trip, and ends somewhere magical.

We hope to see you in the field!

How to Apply

Our 2016 clinic schedule is posted! View it here»


You are welcome to apply anytime after November 30, 2015. The OPEN/CLOSED status indicates available student positions only. Learn more»


Applications for previous RAVS student volunteers will be accepted starting November 30, 2015. New student volunteers may apply starting December 3, 2015. All student applications must be received by December 15. Get more information»

Veterinary students: Wondering if a RAVS trip is right for you, or what to expect on a clinic? View our presentation on what you can expect, and what will be expected of you»

Video shot and produced by James Ransom, DVM, HSVMA-RAVS volunteer and on staff at the San Diego Humane Society

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