February 23, 2022

Vet Preceptorship Inspires the Next Generation

For Loren Lassiter, joining Fossil Rim as our latest veterinary preceptee was a bit of a homecoming. Born in Dallas, she moved to California as a child before completing university. Finally, she moved to Ithaca, New York to continue her veterinary education. Fossil Rim was already on her radar thanks to peers who completed clinical rotations here. Loren also had a couple of fond memories visiting the center as a child. When considering her own preceptorship, Loren says she was looking for something nontraditional to get her started. Fossil Rim was the ideal choice. 

Loren helps perform a neonate exam on a newborn scimitar-horned oryx calf.

No Breaks

Loren’s love of animals has been with her since childhood. She believes it was brought on by an interest in science and beloved learning materials like Zoobooks. In general, Loren has always loved to learn and grow, as evidenced by her jam packed college schedule. Not only did Loren pursue a degree in biology, but a minor in English and ethics . Not to mention she did all this while playing for her university’s basketball team. 

“You could say I take no breaks.” Loren admits. 

This mentality is one that would serve her well however, because life at a conservation center never slows down. 

“We hit the ground running my first day here,” says Loren. “Then there was a surgery on my second day.”

Despite the intense schedule, Loren says the team was incredible from the start, and that she was able to settle in quickly. 

Loren aids vet staff during a cheetah procedure.

New Animals, New Challenges

Before coming to Fossil Rim, Loren’s most recent rotation focused on domestic animals like cats and dogs. She admitted that the information she was taking in here was very different from what she was used to. A large amount of species at our facility that require unique care, and you can’t get as close to an antelope as you can a dog. Despite this, the challenge only served to encourage Loren.

“I’d never had experiences with wildlife in the way I did here, and it definitely helped solidify that this is what I want to do.”

Looking Forward

Exactly what Loren wants to do isn’t solidified just yet, but that’s because she still has plenty of things she wants to learn and experience. Following her time at Fossil Rim, she is participating in a small animal internship, so that she can have the experience of working for both an exotic and more traditional veterinary facility. 

“I guess if I had one big dream, I would want to work somewhere like Fossil Rim, but internationally.” says Loren. “I learned a little about overseas work here, and I like the idea of having a home base, but getting to work abroad.” 

Many of Fossil Rim’s Animal Care and Animal Health team members have had the opportunity to travel to countries like Chad and Mexico, while maintaining their home base in Texas. Loren says she had the opportunity to talk to some of these staff members during her time here, and she grew to really appreciate the idea of work that takes you around the world. 

Loren says some of her favorite memories at Fossil Rim include working with the rhinos.

Now that her time at Fossil Rim is wrapping up, Loren says she is taking fond memories with her, like her time spent caring for our rhinos. 

“I’m really grateful for the experience and how wonderful and willing to teach everyone has been.” says Loren.  “They have been so patient with the process of my learning.”


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