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Sam Young: Extraordinary Veterinarian

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Sam Young is no ordinary veterinarian. He has worked with exotic animals from moray eels to tigers. His office buddies include a cage of hissing cockroaches and a tarantula while working as a veterinarian at the Greensboro Science Center.

Before his job at the Greensboro Science Center, Young owned a mobile exotics practice where he attended to animals like potbelly pigs and koi fish. The job has given him many interesting stories such as saving an emu in Durham.

“I got called out at like midnight,” said Young. “This was an emu that had been attacked by a dog. We had to go out and round up this emu, hand inject it and then reconstruct its esophagus and trachea and neck because it was all torn open.

“We transported the emu in the back of I think it was a Volkswagen, still under anesthesia because you don’t want the emu to wake up in the back of a Volkswagen, to this person’s house in Durham proper and to recover in the backyard so she could keep a closer eye on it and it lives there now in a neighborhood and probably nobody knows that there is an emu in their backyard.”

After working at the Greensboro Science Center for three years, Young has his share of stories of the animals there.

“Duke, our gibbon…broke his arm while I was out of town for an education meeting in Florida,” said Young. “I got back here and we got him all bandaged up and scheduled a surgery with a veterinary special hospital in Cary. We did all the post-surgical care here and had his bandages changed every two days. Now he swings around like it’s no big deal. He has four plates on this tiny little bone that’s smaller than a pen.”

For Young, what is rewarding about his job is not a hard question to answer.

“Obviously helping the suffering of a particular animal,” he said. “Easing the pain or discomfort they might have or healing a certain disease. It warms the heart for me every day. I love the variety here as well, that’s one of the best things about this job is all the creatures I get to work with.”

For the future, the Greensboro Science Center plans to expand their zoo along with the construction of a new hospital for people like Young to work.

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