BY TERI WILLIAMS | PHOTOS BY DAPHNE WALKER
Love of animals
From her car window, the animal crouching in the ditch looked like a baby deer.
Merrick turned her vehicle around for a closer look. She couldn’t just drive
by. Not when she knew she might could possibly help. As she approached the
frightened animal, she quickly realized it was a dog that had been the victim
of a vicious attack. There was no way to know if it had been one dog or a pack
of dogs that had ripped the poor animal’s ear. Even though the “Bulldog mix” was hurt and
afraid, instinct told her that it would not attack. Merrick picked him up and took him to the
Altamaha Animal Clinic where she stitched him up. It’s not the first time Dr. Merrick Kilgore
has rescued an animal in need, nor will it be the last.
For six months, “Deer” greeted the clinic’s clients and their animals as a “Receptionist
Dog” before being placed with a rescue group in New York City where he was soon adopted.
“He was renamed Dingo,” said Dr. Merrick. “Instead of living in a ditch, he gets to go to the
park in New York City and play in the snow.
Dingo has some amazing parents. I’m friends
with them on Facebook. They send me
pictures all the time.”
Many, like Merrick, dream of growing up
and becoming veterinarians. Unfortunately,
the eight years of college, which is the same
as for medical doctors, changes the mind
of most. But not Merrick’s. “My mother
says that I always said I wanted to be an
animal doctor.” By middle school, Merrick
was making plans. “Unlike the medical field
where you learn strictly about the human
body, a veterinarian has to learn the anatomy
and physiology of different species from large
and small animals like dogs, cats, pigs, cows,
and horses to small mammals like gerbils,
hamsters, guinea pigs, and birds.”
At 16, Merrick started working with Dr.
McArthur at Altamaha Animal Clinic. “I had
a lot of interesting things that happened
when I first started,” said Merrick. “One of
Hometown Living At Its Best 95
BECOMING A VETERNARIAN REQUIRES
MORE THAN KNOWLEDGE...
IT TAKES A BIG HEART TOO.