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Mariah Leslie

M.S. in Animals and Public Policy (MAPP) Candidate 2022

B.S., Animal Science, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2019

Current Position:
Veterinary Assistant/Receptionist, Countryside Veterinary Clinic

What were you doing before entering the M.S. in Animals and Public Policy (MAPP) program?
I completed my degree at UMass Amherst in December of 2019 and worked for UMass in the Institute of Applied Life Sciences as an administrative assistant until October of 2020. I then began working as a veterinary assistant at Countryside Veterinary Clinic in Wrentham, MA.

What aspects of MAPP led to your decision to join the program?
I find the relationship between our actions as people, and the outcome that this has on animals very interesting. Studying animal science for my undergraduate degree gave me a good overview of the physical and behavioral attributes of certain animals, but I want to learn more about what we can do to better the interactions between humans and animals, and what I can personally do to contribute. I am especially interested in dog rescue and rehabilitation, as well as how people can be given resources to become better pet owners and caretakers.

Interests in and experience with animals
Growing up, I had a cockatiel as a pet who sparked my interest in animals. I also had chickens, who I loved to learn about and raise. I have always had an interest in companion animals, such as dogs, cats, and birds like the ones I grew up with. Overall, I have gained the most experience working with dogs. In high school I worked at Greyhound Friends in Hopkinton, where they had greyhounds, hounds, and other mixed breed dogs. During college, I worked at a couple of doggy daycares where I gained experience in dog behavior while supervising playgroups. In my college classes, we mostly worked with livestock such as sheep, chickens, and cattle. I enjoyed getting hands-on experience with these animals, but I still missed the level of connection and interaction I felt with helping dogs one on one at the shelter. Most recently working at a veterinary clinic, I gained much more experience with cats, and continued gaining experience with dogs.

What do you want to focus on at MAPP?
I am excited to learn more about the rescue and rehabilitation of all types of animals. I am drawn to the idea that education and access for people can cause a cascading effect that then impacts animals, and the humans that interact with them, in a positive way.
What are your career goals?
I would like to work in dog rescue focusing on finding the dogs successful homes, as well as providing education and resource access for people as well. This would include finding ways to increase the percentage of successful dog adoptions, bettering shelter practices, as well as working to increase access to education and resources for pet owners in underserved communities. I am still hoping to discover in what capacity I can become involved, but those are my overarching goals. I am unsure if I would prefer to have a career working in policy to impact these areas, or to have a role working to impact one particular community or shelter.

What are your outside interests?
I love to take my dogs for hikes and spend time with friends and family. My hobbies include bullet journaling, playing ukulele and singing.

Number of pets? What type?
I have a 6 year old American Foxhound named Birdie. My family also has a greyhound, England, who is 8 years old, our shih-tzu mix, King, who is 7 years old, a 10 year old cat named Magnolia, and a bunny named Hype. All of them are rescues!

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