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Amazing Intern Sam

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20150514_124225How did you develop your interest in vegan lifestyle?

I first became vegetarian after watching the documentary Earthlings. A year later, after becoming aware of the injustices that animals face in this world, I adopted a vegan lifestyle. Everyday I find reasons to be overjoyed living a vegan lifestyle! Even though it can  feel like I’m carrying the world’s problems, it feels good I do what I can to make this world a more compassionate place.

Is there a particular animal on the sanctuary with whom you connect?

Wow, where to start? I fell in love with many of the animals.  Like most newcomers, I arrived thinking I already had my favorite animal picked out, but was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed the company of birds.  I especially liked Saffron, one of the turkey girls, who is the sweetest! As a whole, the turkey girls are a blast and so goofy, you can’t help but giggle and smile when you’re hanging out with them! I miss Noah and Cornelius, two goat brothers. They were the first friends I made at the sanctuary. They are sweet and mischievous at the same time. They work hard making your job a little more difficult, but that’s only because they want to help, I’m sure. Sam 2

Besides animals, what else are you passionate about?

Reading, art, theater, cooking and exercising! I’ve got the travel bug, so I’m bouncing around and going places. I love to travel, try new things, and meet new people!

What advice would you give people interested in transitioning to a vegan diet?

Being vegan is a joy in so many ways! Making the transition can be hard at first. It’s about environment, support, and attitude. Set yourself up for success—have tasty, easy vegan snacks around when you get hungry and you’re at your most vulnerable.  Find quick, easy, go-to meals so you don’t find yourself stressing about cooking (mine is a veggie, bean, and rice-filled burrito with a tasty sauce). Find supportive people – friend, family member, a vegan club/meet-up. Being a vegan can feel lonely sometimes, so having someone who understands you and can be there to share in the journey makes a world of difference! Also, make being vegan fun! Get excited about it and the good you are doing for yourself and others! Find fun, new recipes, talk to people, look-up vegan events or happenings, meet other vegans, get involved! Lastly, and most importantly, be confident! Why would anyone think it is a good idea to be vegan if you are ashamed and unsure of your beliefs? No one should ever be ashamed for choosing compassion over violence.

Have you learned anything in your internship at Animal Place that you can apply to a future career or your home life?

Sam 3Interning at Animal Place changed my life. I know what it is to live a compassionate, vegan life. I showed up to the sanctuary as a quiet, unsure vegan, but I am leaving as a more passionate and confident vegan advocate. I have gained a confidence in myself and my beliefs, which gives me the tools to be a true advocate and activist. I’m not going to sit back and passively accept the cruelty happening around me. I’m not afraid to speak up anymore. Before I came to Animal Place my plan for many years was medical school. After working with the animals, it is apparent that my passion is with animals. Now I plan on becoming a veterinary technician. In just two short months I learned so many fascinating things about the care and keeping of animals—it is knowledge that I will expand on and practice for the rest of my life and work to educate others as well.

Do you have any advice to anyone interested in applying to the Animal Place internship program?

My advice is to ask as many questions as possible and get involved in any way that you can. Get to know the animals, they’re a complete joy!