Today was such an amazing day. It kept my eyes wide open and fully interested!
Today was our first day of classes at Charles Sturt University. We will be taking classes here for the next week with an exam on Friday mostly on animal production and welfare (we are basically done with history of Australia thank goodness!). I had a misconstrued view on the university and expected a very small university, but was I wrong about the size of the place and the size of the knowledge and resources as well which I will talk about!
We arrived at the parking lot and were taken to a small room in the animal science and veterinary building. This room was full of animal bones and skeletons. We were given our introductions and then told a few things about the bones such as shown an inflamed cow tendon compared to a normal one. Joe, our bus driver/tour guide/worker@theUni/bone assembler/horse dentist/”adopted” father of some of the kids on this trip/”comedian” aka a man of many trades, gave us an introduction and then showed us around the building. He took us to the classroom for dissections which was very nice and I would say state of the art but I guess I don’t have anything to compare to.
Then he took us to the freezer where they keep the animals for the students to dissect, or better known as animal cadavers. The freezer was very shocking with tons of animals and parts piled on top of each other. Some students gave a look with disgust but I stood in the room with interest. He threw a camel head at me and made me show the group, which was a very awkward show put on by me because I don’t think I have ever had a camel head, or any head thrown at me before. Then he brought out an enormous bull head and set it on the ground. The head was about 3-4 times the size of a normal cattle head, it was just huge. Before talking anymore about this room or any other places maybe I should tell you that this is on extreme university protocol and the animals are not killed for no reason. They are mainly animals that will be euthanized due to disease such as cows on a farm, or dogs and cats that are in their old age at the pound and they take them for research, and roadkill. Sometimes people are against this but you have to understand that if an animal is dead or going to be dead anyway, you may want to end its suffer and use it for research so you can better animals in the future, rather than do nothing. (When I say you I just mean in general)
We then were taken over to the veterinarian hospital which was right up my alley! Last year and in the beginning of last semester I had a hard time with school and doubted my ambitions of being a veterinarian. Ever since I started doubting I have been getting signs that I should not doubt. Amazing experiences, encouragement, and sights I have seen have made my drive to be a veterinarian grow bigger than ever. I think I will write a blog about this soon, it really has changed my life goals and ambitions. Anyway, the hospital was one of these sights that helped my ambition and it was amazing. We were taken around the surgical rooms, the CAT scan area, shown 3D scans on the computer, the artificial insemination room, stables with mares and foals (mother horses with their babies for those people reading back at home who don’t know, aka my family!) and a lot more. I could go on and on about what we saw and my feelings but my sister asked me during a FaceTime chat, “Do your blogs have to be minimum or maximum characters?”, and I said, “No, why?”. She answered that she thought they were extremely long, which must mean she gets bored reading them so maybe I need to make them shorter even though this one is already too long. I am suppose to be documenting my thoughts and experiences Chelsey!
I guess I am missing my family so much I need to joke with them over blogging! Anyway, we then were taken back to the classroom and given a lecture from a veterinarian and a researcher pursuing his PhD, Dr. Andrew Peters. He was simply amazing. Out of all of the experienced lecturers and professors we have heard from so far, Dr. Peters was the best one I have ever heard. He gave us a talk on Australian Wildlife which is vast. He touched briefly on marsupials (like kangaroos), monotremes (like platypus’), reptiles, birds, and more. My eyes were glued the entire time on him because he really just presented the most interesting material in the best way.
Afterwards, he took us to the dissection classroom and we had a roadkill kangaroo, possum (different than an opossum from home), heron, magpies, shingleback skink, sugar glider, bearded lizard, and a parrot laid out in front of us. All of us, except for a few who were uneasy about the blood, were so interested in cutting up these animals. We were looking for every organ, tooth, vessel, muscle, etc. to understand how these animals worked.
We dissected the pouch of a sugar glider, a marsupial similar to the pouch of a kangaroo, and found the teat ducts and glands leading all the way to the one teat that the animal has for sustenance of their young. We also tried to cut the brain out of the kangaroo where the fractures were when the car broke the skull of the animal. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful because we did not have the appropriate tools.
To sum all of this up and make it somewhat shorter (I could talk for days), this day was just sooo cool. We learned so much, and I would say the most interesting and best information we have learned this whole trip. I have never been more interested in something. Maybe I should pursue a PhD in Australian wildlife and just move here! Only in a dream!
Sorry for the gruesome photos. You gotta see it to understand!