Zakarya Esmahi

Animal Care Assistant

Hello! My name is Zakarya, but everyone calls me Zak for short. I’ve been living on the North side of Edmonton for as long as I can remember, but I was actually born in Ottawa. I enjoy reading everything from fantasy to philosophy; listening to and playing music on my guitar; watching and practicing all kinds of sports (I used to practice Tae-Kwon-Do, swimming, and gymnastics); and of course, I love everything to do with animals and especially animal health

I am a third-year student at the University of Alberta, working towards my degree in Animal Health (Food Animals). I’m hoping to get into a veterinary school in the near future.

I’m not entirely sure what specific area of veterinary medicine interests me the most yet. Though my major is in food animals, I really enjoy learning about companion animals, performance animals, wildlife, and exotics as well. Between all the different sub-fields and the endless list of specializations, it’s so hard to choose a favourite part when I’m still learning so much about each area!

I wish I could tell you about my long history of animal-related endeavors, but I never really owned any pets aside from a couple of fish and snails (though I loved playing with other people’s pets), and my only experience with farm animals was when we occasionally would visit one of my uncle’s farms all the way over in Morocco. I developed my interest in the veterinary field during high school. I had a passion for biology and its application, developing a growing fascination with animal health throughout my twelfth grade of high school. The more I learn and experience, the more I’m sure I chose the right field!

The thing I love the most about Mission Ridge Animal Hospital is definitely the staff. They’re all incredibly personable and talented, and I love working with each and every one of them. My favourite part of my job is how I get a chance to experience every part of the clinic in some way. From helping out with reception, to stocking and fulfilling all the specialized foods, to getting to watch veterinarians and technologists work right in front of me every time I come in.

Though I’ve gotten very rusty, a fun fact about myself is that I was once taught how to memorize long strings of numbers (20+ digits). I still use it from time to time when I need to memorize a password or phone number. Memorization is a lot easier if you take advantage of a few tricks! There’s actually a whole bunch of different techniques people use in these big memory competitions, but I just use them to help me study. The specific technique I use for memorizing long numbers is called the mnemonic major system.