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Alumna earns award
When it’s raining, Tara Estra DVM ’03 keeps a stack of towels next to the front door of her veterinary clinic to wipe away the water before it soaks her patients to the skin. Her clinic has a specially designed bereavement room with a separate exit, for clients facing the most difficult situations. And after she treats an animal, whether it’s a surgical procedure or a case of dermatitis, she follows up with a phone call to see how her patient is doing.
This dedication to working with and serving animals recently earned Dr. Estra the Dr. William O. Stillman Veterinary Award from the Mohawk and Hudson River Humane Society. Dr. Stillman led the first national anticruelty cause in America and was the president of the American Humane Association. He also implemented a humane education magazine for national advocacy and a training school for humane workers. Dr. Estra was presented with the award at the Humane Society's second annual gala, held on April 24, which also recognized her work with shelter animals. Two mornings a week, Dr. Estra spays and neuters shelter animals, as well as performing other surgeries or other veterinary care as needed.
“Earning the award was a very humbling experience for me,” said Dr. Estra. “Dr. Stillman was an inspiration to so many people and an advocate for thousands of animals. He was a compassionate man, persuasive, and he was dedicated to serving the underdog. I plan to do my best to follow in his footsteps.”
This path, though, is relatively new for Dr. Estra, who began her professional life as a television producer. After ten years of chasing celebrities and reporting the news, she knew it was time for a change and found her calling while visiting the College’s annual open house in 1998.
“Cornell prepared me to do anything I want,” said Dr. Estra, who says that she is not practicing the same medicine today as she was six years ago. “I had pivotal experiences; I still recall words of wisdom from the one and only Dr. Hornbuckle; and Cornell taught me how to learn what I need to know to handle the daily challenges and bizarre cases that come my way.”