Chilek plays with dogs in her care. Most kids my age don’t get a once in a lifetime opportunity like this, Chilek said. So I am very thankful for my supportive boss.
Chilek plays with dogs in her care. “Most kids my age don’t get a once in a lifetime opportunity like this,” Chilek said. “So I am very thankful for my supportive boss.”
Christian Wynne

Chillin’ With Chihuahuas

Junior Camden Chilek assists at local veterinary clinic

Stepping outside into the cold air, she sees her dog and sisters outside in the snow. Turning back to the warm house, she hears ice breaking. She runs to the pool to see her dog swimming to the middle of the icy water. Her dad runs to rescue the dog, punching through the ice to get to him. Seeing her shivering dog hurt, junior Camden Chilek knew at that moment that helping animals was what she wanted to do with the rest of her life.

Chilek is a certified vet assistant at Animal Hospital of Lindale.  After making an “A” on the Certified Veterinary Assistant Test (CVA), Chilek is now able to assist in surgeries at the clinic.

“Ever since I was little, I’ve always been an animal lover,” Chilek said. “My grandma always had dogs at her house, and I fell in love with all of them. Two years ago I received the best gift of my life, my dog, Bear. I guess you could say I just have the heart for animals.”

After shadowing at the animal hospital, Chilek was offered a job because of her knowledge of the clinic and their procedures. From there, she took an exam that gave her the chance to become certified and gain more duties.

“When my boss offered me this job two years ago, I was thrilled that I got an opportunity like this,” Chilek said. “Most kids my age don’t get a once in a lifetime opportunity like this, so I am very thankful for my supportive boss. She is the reason I love my job as well; she is very passionate with not only the animals that come in, but also with the owners too. She makes them feel at ease coming into the clinic.”

Chilek studied using books from the clinic and tested herself over the material. During the test, she had three hours to take a 100 question exam.

“Once I finished and received a score of 91%, I was very relieved I didn’t have to take it again,” Chilek said. “When you pay for something of your own, you are more likely to appreciate it more, which is why I am very happy with my hard work.”

Chilek’s duties at the clinic include checking in and out patients, taking care of sick or boarded animals, drawing up vaccines, writing prescriptions, and assisting with surgeries and x-rays. She goes into the clinic on Wednesdays after school and over the weekends to work.

“In the future, I would love to specialize in the zoo area,” Chilek said. “I have always had a passion for the zoo and each species in it. Hopefully, after high school I will have the opportunity to have an internship at our local Caldwell Zoo to learn more about what happens behind the scenes.”

Chilek plans to further her education in Veterinary Medicine and study at the University of Texas A&M where she will take anatomy classes to help with her future career. It is her goal to earn a degree to be a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM)  and be able to perform surgeries and provide care for all kinds of animals.

“I would be honored to be able to make my dreams become a reality as a veterinarian,” Chilek said. “This is a way for me to connect with my grandma who passed in 2021. She was passionate about animals, and now I’m able to continue that for her. ”


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