Shania Hammonds is not a veterinarian, but she sure acted like one at Orchid Springs Animal Hospital in Winter Haven on Thursday.
The 15-year-old assisted in surgery, and under supervision, used a tiny camera to see deep inside a dog's ear and clean it out.
Her love affair with critters goes as far back as she can remember.
"I just fell in love with dogs, animals period," Shania said.
She wants to become a vet, but it is going to be harder for her than most. She has an aggressive type of cancer that has reached Stage 4.
Despite undergoing chemo for more than a year, the cancer is now in her spine and lungs, which makes it hard for her to walk certain days.
"Having cancer is really difficult," she said. "But I keep going."
She got the chance to shadow a vet and work with the staff at Orchid Springs, thanks to a new organization called Charity4smiles. Kristal Smith founded it in memory of her mother, who struggled with cancer for almost two decades.
Smith was amazed by her attitude.
"Always smiling, you never saw her mad," Smith said.
Now Smith wants to help others smile whatever their circumstances.
If you want to know more about Charity4smiles, call (863) 399-1209.
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