Cheney Free Press -

Of Cabbages and Kings


Siera Zehm channels love for animals into career



Siera Zehm plunged right into the care of animals right out of high school. She juggled two jobs by working at Canine Aquatics and at Blackhawk Veterinary Hospital. An hour's drive each day combined the two. She said, “Canine Aquatics is hydrotherapy for dogs after surgery. The dogs loved it.” A tank filled with water and a tread mill to walk on, the dogs would eagerly push the door open and walk right in. Hydrotherapy relieved pressure on other joints as the dogs began to heal.

She has now worked at Blackhawk Veterinary Hospital for one and a half years. As an assistant she preps animals for surgery and helps during the process, holds animals during examinations, gives vaccinations, answers phone calls, helps clients and performs a number of other duties.

Zehm especially likes helping in surgeries. She said, “It's interesting to see the different surgeries. I love all the animals and really try to make them happy. It's nice seeing them go home healthy.” The boarders, those who must stay at the hospital for a specific time, follow her around. She gives them treats.

Zehm grew up on a farm with cows, chickens, pigs, farm cats and dogs. She said, “We had hedge hogs too. They have the same needles as porcupines and curl up in a ball when scared.”

She said, “My dad had a longhorn bull named Billybob he played with. He'd rub the bull's horns and shake him around. Billybob had a tire for a toy. He'd pick it up on one of his horns and throw it.”

The Zehms lived in Hawaii for a while. They thought of retiring there. Siera Zehm was in the 6th grade during one of their stays. She said, “I had ‘island fever' with not much to do. There were no malls on the Big Island and a small one on Hilo. My friends and I could catch a four-hour bus ride to get there. Kona was a tourist attraction and kids would hang out there.” The Zehms had a cabin in Hawaii. Siera Zehm spoke of a generator as their main source of power. She reminisced about being able to watch only one TV program per night. At that time gas was almost $5 per gallon, milk $6 per gallon. “It makes kids appreciate what they have here on the mainland,” she said. The Zehms moved back home in 2009. However, they still own property in Hawaii. Siera said she'd like to go back to Hawaii for a visit.

Zehm has dreamed of being a veterinarian. However, one must study for eight years and memorize the anatomy of each kind of animal. That takes dedication and strong purpose. In the meantime, Siera Zehm calms animals and shows sympathy and love to those that enter the veterinary hospital and sends them home with a friendly goodbye.

Luella Dow is a Cheney-area author who can be reached at


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