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By Ally Ruchman, Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School I recently got the chance to interview Dr. Lisa Murphy, a veterinary toxicologist at the University of Pennsylvania. I met her during my week at the VETS, while attending her lecture on toxicology. I was fascinated by what I heard. Her everyday life seemed so interesting. Now, Dr. Murphy shares what it's like to be a veterinary toxicologist.
By Ally Ruchman, Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School When you think of a landfill, you usually think of a dirty, smelly place where our trash gets deposited. You probably think this is a place that should be avoided and reformed because it's destroying our planet. But with the Semaku Landfill facility, Singapore is trying to change the way we think of landfills. Sure we've heard of covered landfills turned into parks, but active landfill?
By Ally Ruchman, Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School We've all heard the stories and seen the articles about the dangers of using tanning beds -- using tanning beds greatly increases the risk of getting melanoma. But we've also seen shows like Jersey Shore, where the cast hits the tanning salon almost daily. The show's stars make tanning seem like the greatest hobby in the world. But there are some hidden facts about tanning that even Snooki doesn't know.
By Ally Ruchman, Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School The prospect of choosing an occupation is scary to most. What if I choose the wrong one or I become unhappy with my choice? These fears plague college graduates and others who will soon join the workforce. This week I had the opportunity to try out life as a veterinary student and explore if veterinary medicine is a profession I would like to pursue.
By Ally Ruchman, Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School Last week the phone rang off the hook for Wally. The hospital, patients, doctors, and friends all requested his presence. He wasn’t available. Where was he, they wondered? Wally was sick. Deathly sick, and ended up in the critical care unit of our local animal hospital.
By Ally Ruchman, Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High SchoolDiet soda seems like the perfect marriage of delicious soda and no-calorie guilt. Yet new studies have emerged that point to diet soda, and other diet drinks, as the culprit behind weight gain. How can this be if there are no calories? And what are we going to do about the new findings?
By Ally Ruchman, Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School If you had a choice between getting a colonoscopy or interacting in a certain way with a dog, which would you chose? I know that after witnessing both my parents have uncomfortable colonoscopies, I would definitely chose the dog option. But how can a dog sniff out colon cancer? And what does this mean for the future of pre-cancer screening?
By Ally Ruchman, Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School Cooling off in a pool during the summer is a favorite past-time of adults and kids alike. What better way is there to beat the heat and spend time with family and friends than going down to the local public pool for a swim? But what lurks beneath the water and how can we make our pools safe again?
By Ally Ruchman, Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School Wally is an overachiever. Working one volunteer job isn’t enough! He has a second, at the local public library. When he arrives at the library, it’s as if the big Kahuna has stopped by. All of the children are sitting in a circle, books in hand, poised for action. Some children like to demonstrate their strong reading capabilities and are quick to start reading. Others watch and smile and as time marches forward, they gain confidence to read to Wally.
By Ally Ruchman, Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High SchoolOur whole lives we've heard that the higher the number on the sunscreen bottle, the better. But what does the number really mean? And is it necessary to use SPF 75 when 30 works just fine? How big is the difference between SPF 15 and SPF 30? And what about SPF 30 and SPF 50?
When Wally catches a scent, he wiggles his black nose, his full nostrils flare. His long, low-set, floppy ears, which turn slightly towards his cheeks help trap the smell. He drops his head and follows the scent. I call this Wally’s “mission mode.”
By Ally Ruchman, Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High SchoolWhenever Wally and I visit the hospital, Wally gets the royal treatment. One would think that he’s a celebrity as he trots past the security guard. He is the first to receive a hello and then one follows for me. When we reach Radiology, the majority of patients in the waiting room are eager to greet him, touch him, and admire his photo ID which dangles from his neck. Sometimes they even comment on how clean he smells and the softness of his fur. (Wally has to be bathed before each visit.)
By Ally Ruchman, Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School Wally is a quiet star. He sniffs his way into a room, his tail wagging rapidly. Sitting quietly next to a patient, he waits for a command. Every day, he makes a difference in someone’s life. He elicits laughter, smiles, and stories. His cuteness is overwhelming, his soulful eyes mesmerizing. But last week everything changed. Overnight, he became an international sensation. Good bye Snoopy. Hello Wally.
By Ally Ruchman, Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School It was two days before my therapy dog training test. Even though Wally and I were ready, I still felt knots in my stomach. But I remembered what the trainer had told me, “If you keep your eye on Wally and on his leash, he will be fine.” I put two-dozen brownies by the front door so I wouldn’t forget them. I had to take them to my friend’s house for her birthday.
By Ally Ruchman, Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School I knew that training Wally would be quite the challenge the day he soared about three feet in the air and snatched a burger out of a man’s hand. One bite…it was gone. Beagles are instinctively driven by their noses and they love to eat. They are easily distracted by smells, so training Wally was difficult at times. Each breed has its own idiosyncrasies, and this makes training unique for each dog.
By Ally Ruchman, Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School I would like to introduce Wally. He is one of those magical creatures who, by his mere presence, can manage to make both men and women begin speaking baby talk within seconds! People lose their sense of self around him. His tail always wags as if he doesn’t have a care in the world and his fur is velvety-soft -- this makes for endless possibilities. Smiles. Laughter. Rekindling memories. Even revealing deep, dark secrets. His chocolate brown, soulful eyes are irresistible. Sometimes I forget that Wally is a five year-old beagle.
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