OLYMPIA - Veterinarians at a local clinic are amazed that one of their assistants can do the work she's doing, given her unique situation.
Ten-year-old Courtney Oliver just completed her college work for this occupation. She now holds an on-line certification as a veterinary assistant. In eight months, Courtney had the same certification as her adult co-workers.
Courtney says she knew early in life this is what she wanted to do.
"I have a dog Maggie and two hamsters and I just thought: 'Well, if I have so many animals why don't I just work with them?'"
"Might as well get it done early as get it done late," she said.
She got over her initial fright over the sight of blood.
"The first day it kind of made me nervous," Courtney said. "But I'm like, 'when can I do that?' It doesn't really scare me because we have blood. Why be scared of it?"
Dr. Michelle Shoemaker at the South Bay Veterinary Hospital in Olympia has been Courtney's mentor.
"She's amazing. She's a wonderful girl," Shoemaker said. "Always been so bright, very, very smart actually. We quiz her quite often here. They questions and the studies she's been doing and she always knows the answers and she's always right in there wanting to help out. Amazing girl."
"Dr. Shoemaker and I are like twins," Courtney added. "We just love animals. We just wanted to do this because this is our thing."
Despite all of her qualifications and her college degree, Courtney can't be in surgery by herself. Her mother has to be here with her as she volunteers. State law says that she's just too young.
But don't tell Courtney. This 10-year-old is too busy tending to the needs of these veterinary patients.
Courtney volunteers at the vet hospital once a week. She tried joining the local 4-H veterinary program but she was told she's too young.