McKenna Dolbec-Edmand hopes to return to serve a small community in BC as a rural vet once she has paid off her student debt after graduation in three years. /SUBMITTED

By Andrea Arnold 

Valemount resident and first year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine student, McKenna Dolbec-Edmand has always loved being around animals.  As a child, she begged her family for a horse, in addition to their seven cats and two dogs.

Her interest in the world of veterinary medicine began very young.

“I was five years old and at the Valemount Veterinary Clinic with my mom,” said Dolbec-Edmand. “While she was distracted with the cat, I wandered into the back surgery room while Dr. Jones was doing a surgery. I’m sure you can imagine the chaos that ensued after.”

Years later, Dolbec-Edmand volunteered at the same clinic, and worked some summers during university, under the guidance of Dr. Jones.

“Dr. Jones has been one of my biggest supporters and I am very thankful,” she said.

Dolbec-Edmand is attending classes at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine on the University of Saskatchewan campus. The first two years are very general. She plans on pursuing both small and large animal medicine.

Her hope is to eventually return to Northern BC and work in mixed animal medicine. “I’ll be graduating with quite a bit of debt,” she said.

McKenna said that the problem is that the province of BC doesn’t fund enough seats at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, so she is paying a far higher international rate to attend.

“Myself and other BC students in this situation have created a petition to ask the BC government to subsidize more seats so that we can address the shortage of veterinarians in BC.”

She is planning to pursue emergency medicine in the United States, with a view to pay off her debt faster.