Over the past two and a half years, Dr. Haley Warwick has transported or adopted 950 animals with Big Valley Animal Rescue as foster and rescue coordinator. She will be missed after she leaves this weekend to begin a medical residency program in Centerville, Alabama at Cahaba Medical Care. In May, Warwick graduated from Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in Auburn. She said she would specialize in family medicine.
Warwick is not leaving Big Valley Animal Rescue entirely. At least not yet. She will continue to work for a time as a consultant for the organization but will no longer be the reception and rescue coordinator. She will eventually leave the organization permanently.
In lieu of graduation gifts, Warwick asked people to donate to Big Valley Animal Rescue. They can do this on PayPal (https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/bigvalleyanimal), Venmo (@bigvalleyrescue) or Cashapp ($bigvalleyrescue).
Warwick said she became interested in becoming a doctor when her grandfather was ill.
“Just helping to take care of him, I kind of fell in love with medicine, and that’s kinda went from there,” she said.
Juggling her schoolwork with her job at Big Valley Animal Rescue wasn’t easy, but Warwick did it.
“I had to make sure school came first,” she said. “But it was easy to work in rescue because it was one of my passions. Honestly, I couldn’t have done it myself. It was group work. »
Warwick joined Big Valley Animal Rescue because she was an animal lover. She said all the pets she previously owned were rescue animals.
“I had the summer between first and second year of medical school, and they posted on Facebook that they needed volunteers, and I was like, ‘Oh, I could do this for summer and help. “”
Warwick adopted four animals into her own home – a dog named Caroline and three cats named Catherine, Waffles and Diana.
“These were all medical cases that were removed by Big Valley,” she said. “They were found in the community as strays. For example, my dog was abandoned by his owner, but it’s a medical case… I was one of the main medical foster homes, and I let them down because I had to fight so hard to keep them alive and improve them that I got super attached to them.”
Warwick’s favorite thing about working with Big Valley Animal Rescue was being successful in saving animals. His least favorite thing, naturally, was not being able to save all the animals his organization took in.
“People don’t understand it, but in the world of animal rescue, we really lose sleep over the animals we can’t save,” she said. “I’ve had foster homes that I’ve had to give up for medical reasons, or we’ve lost some of my foster homes to parvo, and that’s really tough. It has an emotional impact because you become attached to them and fight to save them. But even those who are still at the shelter and who do not make it out alive, people do not realize that we also cry for these dogs, because we want to save them all.
Warwick recalled a warm memories she had with her dog.
“My dog, it was a medical case that I kept – when she was handed over to us she was put back with a muzzle on because she had a vaginal prolapse and was in pain and growling at people,” she said. “I just remember sitting on the floor with her at the vet. She didn’t mean to be mean, but they gave her a pain kick, and I took the muzzle off, and she kind of melted into my lap and said, ‘Thank you for saving me.’
Another warm Warwicks memory was seeing dogs excited about being pulled from shelters.
Warwick said she essentially works full-time for Big Valley Animal Rescue.
“I did a lot behind the scenes,” she said. “I did all the paperwork for the check. I helped organize transport. I helped network the dogs, helped with fundraisers.
Warwick thinks she will eventually work with animals again in the future.
“Yes, I saved 950 animals,” she said. “But we couldn’t do it without the support of the community and our host families and volunteers because yes, I played a part in it, but I couldn’t do it myself.”