CPP Magazine

Broncos at Work

Richard Ruiz takes care of cows at the farm

Richard Ruiz, '18, Animal Science

Associate Veterinarian, Bear Mountain Veterinary Associates

Tell us about your journey in the veterinary field.

After high school, I was a veterinary technician at a small-animal clinic in Norwalk for about four years. That’s where I first dipped my toes into veterinary medicine and figured out where I wanted to take my career. After that, I enrolled in Cal Poly Pomona’s animal science program and then UC Davis’ veterinary program. Today, I work in primarily dairy practice. A typical day includes going out on the dairies doing pregnancy diagnosis, seeing sick cows, performing surgeries and even consulting work. In addition to cows, I also see pigs, sheep and goats. There’s a lot of variety in the work I do, and that’s what I really like about this job.

How did Cal Poly Pomona prepare you for your career?

The animal science courses at Cal Poly Pomona opened my eyes and led me in the direction of large animal medicine. That’s where I first got hands-on experience — through the beef cows and swine units on campus. Also, courses like animal parasitology and animal nutrition really helped me, especially when I got into vet school, where I was able to pick up where I left off.

If you could be any animal, what would you be?

I’d want to be a beef bull. They seem to have a really good life. They just walk around the mountains, eat pasture and breed. They have the life, for sure.

Haleh Golestani, '18, Master's in Biological Sciences

Haleh Golestani

Associate Veterinarian, VCA Country Oaks Animal Hospital

Tell us about your journey in the veterinary field.

As a kid, I always wanted to be a human doctor but had a change of heart when my family built an animal sanctuary in Iran, where I started doing rescue work in the summer. Being exposed to this work and being in such a unique position, I realized there aren’t many Iranian veterinarians. So, while doing my master’s at Cal Poly Pomona, I decided to apply for UC Davis’ veterinary program. Currently I am a small-animal veterinarian at a Fear Free clinic in Sacramento.

Tell us more about beind a Fear Free clinic.

They are few and far between, but as a Fear Free clinic, all staff are certified and trained to minimize stress for the animals as much as possible. Everything from the colors we wear to the pheromone sprays and handling techniques we use are based around reducing anxiety.

How did Cal Poly Pomona perpare you for your career?

Learning to research and gaining hands-on experience at Cal Poly Pomona was huge, especially during my master’s in general biology when I taught human anatomy. It allowed me to go into vet school knowing so much about similar animals’ anatomies.

If you could be any animal, what would you be?

Definitely a cat. My medical director at the clinic where I work at says I’m a black cat, and I agree with her! Black cats are very extroverted and make friends quickly, and I’m the same way.