Teen works toward veterinary career at West LA internship

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Thursday, July 12, 2018
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Riley Capton, 16, has spent the past few months assisting the staff at California Animal Rehabilitation in West L.A.

WEST LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Riley Capton isn't a veterinarian, but the 16-year-old's love for animals and background in showing dogs has prepared her for an internship at California Animal Rehabilitation in West L.A.

California Animal Rehabilitation, or CARE, links veterinarians with physical therapists to perform canine rehabilitation.

The center offers care for arthritis, muscle soreness, spinal pain and many other medical issues impacting a dog's quality of life.

Capton has spent the past few months assisting the staff there three days a week.

"She's a really observant person," CARE Medical Director Jessica Waldman said. "A lot of what we do is details. Details of how a pet is holding their body, how they're moving, are they showing they're uncomfortable? She really started to pick up on that."

Every year, CARE trains 10 interns with backgrounds ranging from physical therapy to veterinary medicine.

Capton is their youngest intern ever.

"I had suggested (that a vet) put the poles on an incline to mimic walking up a hill," Capton recalled. "He said 'I never thought of that. It's such a great idea.' It was encouraging to know I can make a difference with just an idea."

Capton plans to pursue a career in veterinary medicine as she continues working with CARE, learning innovative techniques that go beyond standard treatment at vet clinics.

"I didn't know how much she was going to feel comfortable integrating or feeling comfortable giving suggestions," Waldman said. "Actually, she exceeded my expectations."