The animal advocate - Dr Terrina Jones turns passion into profession
Becoming a veterinarian wasn't a hard decision to make for Dr Terrina Jones, it was something she knew she always wanted.
Not even the fact that a degree in veterinary science is not offered in Jamaica could have deterred her from pursuing her passion.
Having graduated from the University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus in 2014, she landed a job at the Jamaica Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (JSPCA).
When THE STAR visited her 'office' at the JSPCA, it could not go unnoticed how focused she was while tending to her duties.
Her zeal for animals started in her younger years, where she was always nurturing and caring them whenever she visited the homes of family members or friends.
She even spent her time volunteering at the Phoenix Veterinary Clinic and AnimalCare Veterinary Services.
Can get intense
A typical day for Jones at the JSPCA can sometimes get hectic, as animal care can get intense.
"We are basically a shelter and a veterinary clinic. The shelter part deals with adoptions and stray animals and at the veterinary clinic, we have surgeries and they bring in animals for treatment. Typically, most of our surgeries are spay and neuter to stop them from reproducing. We do other types of surgeries like certain tumours. As for the clinics, we have a variety of animals that come in but puppies mostly come in for vaccines and you do have sick animals that come in with wounds and are not eating," the 29-year-old explained.
Although she does surgeries, Jones spends her days mainly in the clinic, giving vaccines to puppies, and providing care to both sick and healthy animals.
"Some things that come through the clinic, if you don't have the heart or the stomach, you will pass out. We get maggot wounds almost every day," she said.
The St Catherine High past student sees herself as an advocate and a voice for animals, having been a pet owner herself.
When asked what that means, she answered, "You do know that animals cannot talk? When they are feeling ill, it is basically my job to figure out what is really wrong so we can properly diagnose and treat and relieve any further discomfort the animal is feeling. Advocacy is not only for treating but it is preventing any form of animal cruelty."
Jones opined that while advocacy is getting better, Jamaica is still not perfect when it comes to awareness of animal cruelty.
"But compared to what it was in the day, it's getting better by the use of education and us going into schools. We do have to start from the younger ones, letting them know about animal cruelty," Jones said. One situation that really hurt Jones happened earlier this year where a dog was fed to a crocodile in a section of St Catherine.
"That was a big no-no because they literally put the dog in harm's way. I get pretty upset when I see dogs being mistreated. If I see it happening in front of me, I would approach the person and tell the person to desist. I wish there was a stronger word to express my anger, she told THE STAR.
Jones does not see herself changing professions anytime soon because of her undying love for animals and the awareness of animal cruelty that needs to be spread in Jamaican society.
Passion shining through her eyes, she stressed, "I'm doing this for the animals, not for the clients."