Every day that Dr. Allison Bliss is at the Best Friends Pet Adoption Center in New York, she’s working hard to make sure that every dog and cat at the center is healthy. From the littlest babies in the kitten nursery to the senior pets at the adoption center, Dr. Bliss pays careful attention to each and every Best Friends animal so that they have the very best chance at finding loving homes.
In the Q&A below, learn more about Dr. Bliss and what inspires her in her work as a veterinarian for Best Friends.
Why did you choose to become a veterinarian?
I have wanted to be a veterinarian for as long as I can remember. My parents took me to pick out my first pet when I was two years old. My cousin’s friend’s barn cat had had kittens, and I picked out an orange tabby female and named her Bunny. We had other pets growing up, too, but that cat was a huge part of my life and inevitably why I became a veterinarian.
What inspires you most in your work at Best Friends?
I would say the people I work with — and the animals, of course. We truly are part of a team bringing to life the Best Friends mission, vision and guiding principles. It’s the little things, like a volunteer snuggling with a kitten in the nursery, a caregiver sitting with or playing with one of our dogs, or Best Friends in New York executive director Elizabeth Jensen using her personal tablet to play nine hours of purring for a kitten in the nursery incubator to comfort him.
Do you have pets and, if so, can you tell us a bit about them?
I have a small zoo! I have five cats, two dogs, two rats and a horse. My oldest cat is 15, and his name is Smudge. Then there’s Kini, Colby, Mark and Apollo. My dogs are Clyde and Dunkin. My rats are Cora and Grace. My horse’s name is Boston and he just turned 10, in April. I’ve had him since he was 16 months old. He lives at my friend’s farm outside of Buffalo and is being leased by a doting teenage girl. Almost all of my pets are rescued and they each represent an important period in my life.
What do you do when you're not working?
I take my own dogs to the park, work out or go for a run, read or hang out with friends.
What are some of the simplest ways we can take care of our pets?
Preventative care. For young animals, a yearly checkup with vaccines goes a long way. As adopters, we are very in tune to our animals, but there are things your veterinarian can pick up on a physical exam and/or routine blood work that may otherwise go unnoticed.
What are some of the simplest ways we can help save the lives of homeless pets in New York?
Adopt. There are so many great and loving pets out there. Volunteer or donate. It doesn’t have to be a lot; every little bit counts and is appreciated. And take part in Strut Your Mutt. I did this the first year I moved to New York City and I’m already signed up for this year.
Photos by Stacey Axelrod