Dr. Ciara Vollaro, DVM
Community Director & Associate Veterinarian
Tier 1 Veterinary Medical Center
My passion to become a veterinarian came at a young age. I was always drawn to all animals. Their innocence and unconditional love intrigued me. My parents noticed this passion/communication at a young age and would talk to me about becoming a veterinarian. I never knew what that meant until I volunteered at our family veterinary clinic. It was going to be a tough process, but little did I know how hard the process was going to be until I went through the application process. People think that getting into Vet school is easy, but at the time there were only 28 veterinary colleges in the US. Now there are 30 colleges. Those who have finished or those who have been accepted to vet school should be incredibly proud of themselves.
Becoming a veterinarian has been a dream since I was 7 years old. My brother and I talked about opening up Vollaro Veterinary Hospital. As years went on, he transitioned away from veterinarian medicine while I seemed to throw myself further into the profession. My dad has always been my coach since the words left my mouth. I would rescue baby birds that fell from the nest in our yard and he would help me nurse them back to health. He was not an easy coach, he knew how to push me based on my strengths and weaknesses.
My father was always supporting and pushing me since I was young. He was the one to encourage me to ask our family veterinarian to volunteer. At the age of 13, I would volunteer at our family veterinary clinic for 3 hours after school. My parents worked, so I would get myself to the clinic on my rollerblades.
I have an amazing support team. From my parents, to my siblings, to cousins, to husband, and my friends; they have all given me the support to fulfill my dream. While I was in vet school, I would receive calls/voicemails from friends and family that simply stated that they were thinking of me and letting me know they were proud of me.
While in vet school, I fell in love with radiology. It was the passion and enthusiasm from my anatomy and radiology professors. Since graduating I have pushed myself to get gain more knowledge and skills in ultrasonography. A few years ago, I took an advanced course in Endoscopy and fell in love. I want to continue to pursue courses with ultrasound and endoscopy, but would like to open the door to laparoscopy.
In the past 4 years, I have come to realization that I love to teach. I am not the type of person that wants to stand in front of the classroom and give a lecture, instead I want to teach clinical skills. My schooling has taught me that it’s okay to say, "I don't know" and has given me the skills to find the answer. Like all medicine, everything is changing. There are resources and colleagues that we can always reach out to to help out patients. I want to bring this school of thought to the veterinary profession in Alaska. Though the challenges I faced in vet school were incredibly tough, it made me a better doctor. I want to be able to bring this school of thought to the individuals in this profession. Veterinarians, veterinary technicians, assistants, receptionists, managers, etc should all know that it’s okay that you don't know all the answers. I want to give them the power and confidence to know that they are capable of finding the right answers and bringing quality medicine and care to our community.
For so long, veterinarians in Alaska have had to do things on their own. I was born and raised in California. When I graduated, there was a specialty clinic on every corner. When I moved to Alaska 6 years ago, I came to realize the hard truth that a specialty clinic/hospital did not exist in Alaska. In the past 6 years, it has been my goal to help establish a specialty hospital in Alaska. In so many words, you can say it has been my goal and passion. When I met Dr. McPeck, I saw the same passion to bring high quality specialty medicine to the state.