Devoted Doctors

Zoo internquest is a seven-week career exploration program for San Diego County high school juniors and seniors. Students have the unique opportunity to meet professionals working for the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, and Institute for Conservation Research, learn about their jobs, and then blog about their experience online. Follow their adventures here on the Zoo’s website!

It’s not always so fun going to the doctor’s office; even so, many  kids want to become a ‘doctor for animals’ or in simpler terms, a vet! This week, interns met Ben Nevitt, who is one of six full-time veterinarians at the San Diego Zoo. He has the incredible opportunity to care for hundreds of exotic-animal species such as polar bears, flamingos, elephants, and much more!. While many people grow up wanting to become veterinarians, only those with immense dedication and focus achieve this goal. After high school, Dr. Nevitt pushed through 13 additional years of schooling including veterinary school, internships and residency. Although, it was only after Dr. Nevitt finished his residency program that he was finally hired at the San Diego Zoo. Nowadays, Dr. Nevitt is living his dream taking care of the animals at the Zoo.

Currently, there are 125 animals in the Zoo’s hospital. Some are there because they are injured, sick, in quarantine, or maybe their exhibits are just under construction. Whatever the reason, the Zoo’s skilled team of veterinarians are always there to help. Dr. Nevitt and his colleagues perform numerous animal check ups each day to make sure all their patients are in tip-top shape. These health checks provide valuable information when it comes to conserving endangered species. This is because knowing how to keep an endangered animal healthy in a zoological setting allows conservationists to better care for these animals in the wild. For example, if a conservationist knew how to treat a deadly disease in cheetahs at the Zoo, then they could apply this treatment to wild populations suffering from the same disease. During an exam, Dr. Nevitt may take samples of blood, urine, or fecal matter to analyze in the lab. This allows veterinarians to diagnose animals and treat them accordingly. Thanks to Dr. Nevitt and his team, the animals at the San Diego Zoo are living long lives and are treated quickly for any illness or injury.

Lesson: Post-Vet Dog Biscuits!

Objectives: Children will not only become mini-chefs, but they will also realize the hard work that the veterinarians undergo each day to make sure everyone’s pups stay happy and healthy.

While at the veterinarian’s office, children can ask the vet questions to gain a better understanding of the responsibilities of this career. Examples of questions to ask are: “What does a day in the life of a veterinarian look like?”, “what is your favorite and least favorite part of your job?”, or “how did you attain this job?”. After taking your pet to the veterinarian, your child can bake biscuits to rewards your dog for being so good at the vet’s office. Parents can help their children bake the biscuits, but I recommend you allow your child to be the one who gives the dog the biscuit so they can see how happy the dog becomes! This simple, yet fun activity is sure to put a smile on your child and dogs face!


  • 2 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups of oatmeal
  • ¼ cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 spoonful of BOVRIL concentrated bouillon (Chicken or Beef flavour)


  1. Preheat oven to 350⁰F.
  2. Combine all ingredients except the water in a large bowl. Add the seasoning to the water. When the water is added to the mixture the dough will be heavy!
  3. Roll the dough until it is about 1 cm thick. Sprinkle flour on it so it won’t stick.
  4. Cut the dough with a knife or cookie cutter. Place the biscuits on aluminum paper. Bake for 20 minutes on one side, flip them over, and bake for another 20 minutes. Stop the oven and let the biscuits dry out for an hour or two.
  5. After the biscuits have cooled, go ahead and give your dog a taste!

Sarah, Kids Corner
Winter Session, 2017


Add a comment

Due to the increased volume on our many social media channels, we are unable to respond to all comments or questions. Comments are now posted automatically but may be removed if deemed inappropriate according to the San Diego Zoo Global Blog Comment Policy.