Another Dr. Alamo?

Posted:  Sunday, December 24, 2017 - 7:00am

Kyle Alamo, a 2015 Boothbay Region High School graduate, is in his junior year at the University of Maine in Orono majoring in animal and veterinary sciences with a concentration on pre-veterinarian studies and a minor in zoology. Alamo said that while his major concentrates mostly on animal care, behavior and biology, it includes core sciences that will help in his pursuit of veterinary medical school.

“I've always loved animals so I figured I should try to learn as much as possible while in school to apply towards being a veterinarian,” Alamo said. “The road to veterinary medicine is a long yet rewarding road. I knew from the start it was going to be difficult so I've been trying to set myself up with the best odds in getting accepted.”

Alamo, son of Charito and Dr. Aquilino Alamo of Boothbay, often works under the supervision of veterinarians and veterinary science staff members. He said a great deal of his experience has been on the farm at the J. Franklin Witter Teaching and Research Center in Old Town. Right now, Alamo is in the middle of an internship helping take care of rehabilitated standardbred racehorses. He is also vice president of the Ewe-Maine Icelandic Sheep Club and president of a new club, University of Maine Cooperative League of University Chicken Keepers (UMCLUCK) which hopes to add chickens to the list of animals the university uses for teaching. In addition to all of his studies and responsibilities, Alamo is also a resident assistant (RA).

Outside the classroom, Alamo has been getting as much practical experience working with animals as possible. He has enjoyed working with dogs, cats and the occasional exotic animal under Dr. Dean Domeyer at Boothbay Animal Hospital.

“I have known (Dr. Domeyer) for a while and he has been a huge influence on my career choices,” said Alamo.

Alamo has also been working as the Chewonki Foundation’s wildlife center technician, working with rehabilitated and non-releasable animals like snakes, owls, reptiles and a woodchuck.

With an urge for occasional travel in his future veterinary career, Alamo wanted to travel abroad, but his program at UMO does not allow for it. So he pursued an externship in South Africa and ended up working under Dr. Louw Grobler at Fish Eagle Wildlife Services in Swartwater, about four hours north of Pretoria on the Botswana border.

“I (assisted) in veterinary work out in the field, working up close with a range of wildlife species in unpredictable locations. Three other pre-veterinary students and myself assisted in medical work, game captures, immobilization and relocation, all in the rural ‘bush’ of the Limpopo province, either out in the field, in truck beds, or by helicopter since wildlife veterinarians don’t practice in clinics.”

Working with zebras, cape buffalo and antelopes was exciting, said Alamo, but he was also able to see “signature species” like lions, giraffes and elephants. Alamo said even though he saw no elephants, being able to work in South Africa was a fantastic experience and helped him come to realize his career path redefines the 9 to 5 workday and the unpredictability of his field.

From cow-milking at 3 a.m., to research, and fieldwork in South Africa, Alamo cannot see himself doing anything but veterinary services.

“… To succeed I'll have to fully commit, meaning I'll not only put the extra hours into studying, but waking up at odd hours of night to assist in sheep births, and taking extra measures to get more time with dogs and cats. I've learned to just embrace whatever this career path will throw at me … and I'll just have fun doing it. I'm looking forward to the future, but I’m enjoying the road that is going to take me there.”