By Laurie Lechlitner
WARSAW — “I remember adopting a bird when I was 11 years old,” stated Rin Ritter, Warsaw. “I bought a cockatiel at the pet store. Because it was gray, I decided to call my bird Smoky. I think that’s when I decided I wanted to be a veterinarian and take care of a variety of different animals.” Ritter is a senior at Wawasee High School.
Last year, Ritter took her first year of Vet Tech training at Fairfield High School. “I got to watch cats being spayed and neutered in the surgical department at the high school. We had class labs and even learned some hands-on training. Jill Anderson, our teacher, taught us how to pack medical kits and correctly bandage animals. We also practiced taking vital signs and restraining the animals.”
The second year of her training includes an internship that requires 12 to 15 hours each week. “I’m doing my internship at two places. One is Isaiah 11 Farm in Warsaw. The other is Wings of Eli, a bird rescue facility in Milford.”
At Isaiah 11, an animal rescue and counseling center in Warsaw, Ritter feeds and waters the farm animals. She also helps administer meds. “I love to cuddle and socialize the cats. I’ve had five cats of my own throughout my life and love them.”
At Wings of Eli, she has a variety of chores. “Of course, I help feed and water the birds. I love it when we can let them fly around and perch on us. I’m also involved in retraining the birds to fly. Some of our birds were injured or abused. Some have heart problems or other medical issues. I enjoy working with them, especially since I still have Smoky at home.”
To go on to become a vet tech, Ritter will need to attend college. “I can be a vet assistant in the meantime, though. I do not yet have a college in mind to attend. But I’m working on it.”
At Isaiah 11, Ritter gets a chance to work with both small animals: dogs, cats, rabbits, and large animals: horses, donkeys, goats, pigs. “That gives me a variety of training on different sized animals.”
When asked what it takes to be a good veterinarian, Ritter remarked, “Vets work with both animals and people. So, they must be a good listener to owners and able to figure out what’s wrong with an animal as they observe their symptoms.”
Right now, Ritter is working on communicating with the animals. “I remember mimicking the meows of my own cats. That’s special to them. I’m not really sure what I’m saying in cat language,” she added with a chuckle, “but they seem to understand it.”
At Wawasee her favorite class is chemistry. “I love all the science classes. I’ll need chemistry for college.”
Her hobbies include reading, drawing and playing with Smoky. She loves hanging out with friends and just talking.
She is the daughter of Rachel Marose and Dillon Ritter. She has two younger siblings Clair and David. “I live with my grandmother, Siobhan Davenport, and my great aunt, Mary Hurley.”
Her advice to those who think they want to be veterinarians: “Make sure it’s really something you want to do. Take a vet class or shadow someone. Gain some experience before going to college.”