WALLA WALLA -- Tina, a chocolate-brown quarter horse, stood patiently in her stall and moved hesitantly as unfamiliar visitors came near. However, the approach of the veterinary doctor seemed to ease her concerns.
While many people enthusiastically declare their love for all animals, vets quite clearly take it to another level. Dawn Bonser, one of three new veterinarians at Associated Veterinary Medical Center, knew she wanted to help animals from an early age and is excited to be working in Walla Walla.
"I've been riding horses since I was 2," she said, "And I grew up around animals. I just can't see myself being in any other field."
Bonser, who graduated from Washington State University School of Veterinarian Medicine, treats at least 10 animals a day, including dogs, cats, cows and horses.
"But, thankfully, no snakes," she said. "Although we have treated a pig recently, which was quite exciting."
Bonser expressed her love of working with people as well as the animals and being excited to come to the clinic each day.
"When you wake up in the morning, and don't dread coming into work, you're in a good place. I love my job."
Bonser, a native of Elk, Wash., who moved here this summer, most recently completed a year-long equine internship and, as a result, specializes in treating horses, including those performing in the local rodeos.
"We took the call for the Walla Walla rodeo because we want to do a lot for the community," Bonser explained, "When people work with love for their animals it makes for a good community."
The staff at Associated Veterinary Medical Center, 208 Wildwood St., demonstrated their concern for people and pets in their community earlier this month when they gained local attention for the treatment of Tank, a family dog critically injured after being dragged behind a pickup. The veterinary staff not only worked on a Sunday, without receiving any prior payment, but also participated in the fundraising efforts for the treatment.
Another recent addition to the clinic, veterinarian Emily Perkins, who graduated from the University of Glasgow in Scotland, came to Walla Walla in June after moving from Bend, Ore.
For Perkins, the decision to go into veterinary medicine was obvious. "I loved solving problems," she said. "I loved science, I loved people and I've always loved all animals."
Alexis Campbell, who also joined the clinic earlier this year, spoke fondly about working with clients from the Walla Walla Valley.
"Owners come in in a panic, and when they leave they're super appreciative," Campbell said. "The people here are real. It's great being able to make a difference in people's lives."