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We first met Allyza in 2015 when Dr. Olivia Petritz spoke at her elementary school in South Central. In addition to bringing along several species of exotic animals, Dr. Petritz talked to the kids about conservation, how to treat animals, and what it’s like to be a vet.

After the presentation, Allyza introduced herself to Dr. Petritz and her love for animals was made immediately clear. Allyza was star struck and even asked Dr. Petritz to autograph her veterinary Lego set guidebook and her veterinarian Barbie doll!

In March 2016, we invited Allyza to join our Los Angeles hospital as a “doctor” for the day to encourage her love of animals and furthering her education. Upon arrival, Allyza was greeted by Hospital Manager Jason Bitting, who gave Allyza her very own white lab coat complete with her name embroidered on the front.

She and her mother were then taken on a tour of the hospital, finally landing in our Exotics department, where she was reunited with Dr. Petritz, her assistant Rosa, and Dr. Karen Schachterle. There, Dr. Allyza listened to the heartbeats of a tortoise and bird and had many of her questions about our patients, school, and veterinary medicine answered. We also traveled to some of our other departments and learned about endoscopy in Internal Medicine, MRI in Neurology, and made our way back to Exotics to check the expiration dates on food for our patients and look at some of the tools used in surgeries. She then had pizza for lunch and was presented with a year-long membership for her family to the LA Zoo and ended her day by saying goodbye to all of the patients.

We are so lucky to have been able to spend quality time with Allyza and help foster her love for veterinary medicine. We hope she continues to pursue her passion and can’t wait to see what the future holds for her!

Shannon Brown

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