Dr. Maureen Murray, with permission
Dr. Maureen Murray is a DVM (doctor of veterinary medicine) and for years she has been saving animals. Dr. Murray once saved a bear cub that was hit by a car in Conway, N.H. When the bear cub was taken into her care, Dr. Murray and a team of vets at her clinic performed surgery. The bear recovered and was then released.
A graduate of from Tufts Veterinary School, Dr. Murray has worked at her current clinic, Tufts Wildlife Clinic in North Grafton, since 2003. She also is a Clinical Assistant Professor in Wildlife Medicine at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine located at Tufts.
Along with teaching and taking care of animals, Dr. Murray has been doing research into rodenticide. This rodenticide has been occurring in birds of prey, like hawks, when they eat a rodent who ate the poison.
In an over the phone interview on April 11, Dr. Murray explained what her experiences are as a vet. She also gave some advice to those who may be interested in joining the veterinary field.
Haley Cooper: What made you want to become a veterinarian?
Dr. Murray: I became a wildlife veterinarian because after pursuing a different career for a few years, I decided I wanted to use my career to help the animals that live among us that many people take for granted. Our human dominated environment presents many obstacles to survival for our wildlife, and most of the injuries I see in these animals are caused by interactions with people. As a veterinarian who focuses solely on wildlife, I am trying to give back to these animals, whether they are an endangered species or a very common one.
Cooper: What has been the most memorable moment you’ve had working at the clinic?
Dr. Murray: I have had many memorable moments as a wildlife veterinarian. I have worked with endangered species like timber rattlesnakes and peregrine falcons. I have also had the opportunity to work with bear cubs, bobcats, and a whole lot of turtles, which are my favorite patients. Every time I release one of my patients back to the wild is a memorable moment. Recently, a diamondback terrapin, which is a threatened species, that I had treated for a shell injury 6 years ago was spotted by a biologist monitoring their nesting sites. It was especially great to see a former patient surviving in the wild for that length of time, laying eggs, and keeping the population of terrapins going.
Cooper: How long were your years of schooling to become a vet?
Dr Murray: To go to veterinary school, you need a four-year college degree and you need to take certain prerequisite science and math classes. The veterinary degree is another four years of school.
Cooper: Do you have any advice for those who want to come into the veterinary field?
Dr. Murray: Admission to veterinary school is very competitive, so it’s important to really focus on your coursework in college and keep up good grades. It also helps a lot to get some experience working with animals, either in a veterinary clinic or in a research setting. I would encourage students who might be interested in veterinary school to think about less traditional aspects of veterinary medicine, like working with wildlife or focusing on conservation related research. Veterinarians can bring a lot to these fields.
Editor’s note: Dr. Murray is the aunt of the writer of this article. Cooper said that her aunt has been sharing stories and sending pictures to her family about the animals that she has in her care for some time.