96 Toombs County Magazine
the questions on the vet school application was something like:
Tell us about a time when you had a really difficult patient or a
patient that took a lot of your concentration.” Without hesitation,
she wrote about Smokey, a cat she cared for at the clinic while
still in high school. “He’d been attacked by two large dogs. They
literally ripped that cat from head to tail. He had massive wounds
everywhere. We closed him up and did what we could, but he
had a lot of swelling and secondary issues. There were days that I
would literally just sit with this poor cat holding him in a five-gallon
bucket of hot water to help reduce the swelling, but he made it.
He’s about 19 years old now.”
After graduating from Vidalia High School in 2003, Merrick
attended Georgia Southern University. She continued to work at
Altamaha Animal Clinic as a veterinarian technician through the
summers, Christmas breaks, and practically every chance she got.
Four years later, she graduated with a B.S. degree in Biology.
Merrick’s graduate school experience was a bit unconventional.
When she flew to St. Kitts Island in the Caribbean to attend Ross
University School of Veterinary Medicine, she didn’t know anyone.
Thankfully, the school had a great support system to help acclimate
her to the culture and the school. “The way it works at Ross is that
you do seven semesters, including some surgical training, and your
senior year you’re matched with one of the vet schools in the U.S.
with a large and small animal hospital.”
For the last two semesters on the Island, her team of four was
assigned a sheep and a donkey. “That poor sheep was terrified at
first. But by the end of the semester, I could walk into the pen with