Reaching UP veterinarians get back to the basics of their practice—in more ways than one

Applications due Sept. 16 for AVMA members to volunteer at November clinic

Reaching Up: Building Bonds. Advancing Health.It’s not every day that Dr. Christa Lloyd is able to give children a glimpse into veterinary medicine. But, she was able to encourage a younger generation to pursue veterinary or other health professions during a recent volunteer assignment with the AVMA’s Reaching UP program. At the same time, she also was able to serve an outstanding community and its beloved pets.

Introduced through a partnership of the AVMA, the Native America Humane Society, and tribal communities, the Reaching UP program began collaborating with the Pueblo of Laguna in New Mexico last November. The program provides high-quality, high-volume (HQHV) spay/neuter and targeted preventive care services in underserved areas and aims to increase awareness of the value of consistent, quality veterinary care, including its impact on public health and the human-animal bond.

Volunteering: “A very special experience”

As a Reaching UP volunteer, Dr. Lloyd had the opportunity to see the eye-opening results of this program first-hand. She was struck by the ability of the program to provide basic preventive care and education—in an open and welcoming setting—to pet owners who might not have had access to veterinary care otherwise. This and her experience with the children at the clinic were among the most rewarding aspects of her Reaching UP adventure.

“I met wonderful, caring veterinarians and technicians who willingly gave up time and energy to help pets outside of their communities,” said Dr. Lloyd. “This kind of networking is uplifting and renews my passion for veterinary medicine.”

Reaching UP was Dr. Scott Noe’s first volunteer experience in veterinary medicine, and he had similar praise for the opportunity to participate.

“Getting to meet and work with the people of the Pueblo of Laguna was an extremely rewarding personal experience,” he said. “You could tell that these animals were loved and an important member of the family. The people of the Pueblo of Laguna made this a very special experience.”

Dr. Noe also was excited to have a team of nearly 20 volunteers working beside him to ensure the clinic ran smoothly. The support he received from his co-workers and the families of the Pueblo of Laguna, in addition to the outpouring of gratitude from the clients they served, made his participation in the Reaching UP program one of his “most cherished veterinary memories.”

Renew your passion by volunteering for Reaching UP

surgery-450Due to its success, the Reaching UP program will continue with its fourth New Mexico clinic in November with generous funding provided by the Banfield Foundation. The AVMA is currently seeking licensed veterinarians who are AVMA members to staff these free veterinary clinics.

Ten to 15 volunteers are needed for the upcoming clinic in November. The application deadline for the November clinic is September 16, and volunteers will be selected by September 23. To apply, please complete the application and submit it to Dr. Kendall Houlihan via email at

Selected volunteers will have the opportunity to view their practice in a whole new light and return home with a renewed vigor for their work, as past participants can testify.

“So often we work in our nice veterinary hospitals with expensive equipment and sophisticated procedures, and we sometimes lose a little reality. My time at the Pueblo of Laguna was very humbling,” Dr. Noe explained. “Our ability to listen to the client reminds us of the roots of our profession.”

Thank you to the Banfield Foundation for funding the 2016 Reaching UP Program.

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