Maddie's® Shelter Medicine Program

Saving lives through science, leadership, and service.

Emily Boccia, DVM

Dr. Emily Boccia, 2022/2023 Maddie's® Shelter Medicine Intern

2022/2023 Maddie's® Shelter Medicine Intern

Dr. Emily Boccia originally attended Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts as a double major in music and psychology, where she is trained in classical voice. It wasn't until she got her first job as a kennel assistant that she found her calling as a veterinarian.

Boccia specifically remembers being attracted to shelter medicine when she volunteered in one of her first shelter settings. From there, she attended Michigan State University, where she obtained her DVM degree.

Boccia says, "I really like the population medicine aspect and that you're treating the shelter as a whole. Of course you do still have your individual patients that you're checking in with but always thinking about disease control and epidemiology."

Boccia also states that it's a good opportunity to engage with your community in a different way.

Dr. Boccia administering medication and care to an animal

What drew Boccia to Maddie's® Shelter Medicine Program at Cornell University was the fact that the program works primarily from a home base at the SPCA of Tompkins County. Boccia describes it as being helpful to get the feeling of what it's like to comprehensively manage a population, versus traveling to a bunch of different shelters. And while Boccia likes the idea of traveling for consultations, she says it's helpful to have a home base while you're still learning to be a doctor, as well as specifically learning how to be a shelter veterinarian at the same time.

In the future, Boccia would like to conduct more consultation work, work in a leadership role, and/or pursue a career in academics to help foster the next generation of shelter veterinarians.

FUN FACT: Dr. Boccia is working on hiking all 14 of the 4,000 foot mountains in Maine.