Volunteer Spotlight: Dr. Mariah Coakley


Name: Mariah Coakley

Home State: Texas, USA

School/Education/Year graduated: Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine, DVM 2000       

Years of Animal Health Experience: 30+

Current Occupation: Veterinarian

• Tell us about your World Vets Journey.  How did you get involved?  
I started volunteering with World Vets in 2014 after researching how to merge my love of travel with my love of volunteering- the perfect combination.

• How many trips have you volunteered with World Vets? I have been doing between 2 and 4 trips a year for the last 4 years so I’ve lost count! Already have a few this year scheduled…

• Do you have a favorite location? I have loved every place I have been to but, I have a special place in my heart for both Nicaragua and Peru. I am lucky enough to have made some good local friends in Nicaragua through the teaching program there and have been there many times. Peru is just such a beautiful country with a very spiritual, kind people- I can’t wait to go back there!

• What inspires you to volunteer for World Vets?
I feel that our groups are excellent ambassadors for animal health (and the countries we come from). I really enjoy meeting the local people and seeing the common enthusiasm for animals and their place in people’s lives- be it as a working animal or a pet. People often tell me how great it is that I do this kind of work, but I that I receive so much more back in broadening my horizons and receiving the kindness of so many different types of communities and traditions. It may be “work” but it sure doesn’t feel like it!

• Do you have a favorite World Vets experience? The overall experience of a group of (often) complete strangers coming together to help other is a very powerful thing. It always amazes me how quickly the team can work so efficiently with each other after just a few days. My favorite individual experience to date has been in Nicaragua on the 2 different working horse projects where 2 young cousins helped us all day long! Those little girls had so many questions and were so excited to see us back the 2nd time. I really hope to see them again one day and hope we inspired them to continue their education and go for their dreams.

• What would you tell future volunteers for World Vets?
Go for it! Be prepared for less than ideal working conditions and sometimes some heartbreaking cases of hurt animals (not because people don’t care, but because they just can afford to seek help or don’t know what to do). Don’t worry though- the thanks and smiles you will receive are priceless; not to mention the feelings of accomplishment and camaraderie you will achieve!

• When you’re not volunteering for World Vets what does the rest of your life look like?  As much travel as possible of course! I also love horseback riding, music, museums, reading, cooking and philosophical discussions over a glass of wine. In May 2018 I completed a masters certificate in public health that I hope will come in handy for any international education programs in the future.

World Vets simply could not operate without our amazing volunteers and cannot thank them enough.  Click here to join the World Vets volunteer team!