Alyssa McCarley


Puppies and a mother German Shephard lived in her bathtub as she helped take care of the new litter. Rabbits and horses played in her backyard. Cats climbed around her house.

“I wanted to call him Dipstick because of his tail,” she said. “But they like to call him Little Thing.”

Growing up, SE student Alyssa McCarley said she had her own petting zoo as she pointed to a baby cow on her computer screen which she helped deliver.

Her mother, who teaches veterinary technology at Cedar Valley community college, has always had a heart for the animals, McCarley said.

“She’s fascinated by animals, which is why we have so many,” she said.

The family often receives a discount on animal food because of the job McCarley’s mother has, lowering the expenses of caring for all their animals almost by half, McCarley said.

“We can buy a really good 20-pound bag of food that’s normally $30 for $15,” she said.

And when it comes time to clean up the messes and playing with the animals, McCarley jokes of giving her younger brother the chore.

“It’s generally my little brother’s job to clean up the back yard,” she said. “But you just have to keep it on a rotation system and make sure everyone gets outside and the animals have plenty of time to run around.”

However, when her family moved out of a countryside area, some of the furry creatures had to go. The most she’s had at once has been about 12.

“We had a little bit more land, but since we’ve moved here, we’ve actually sold some of the dogs, but they just kind of slowly built back up over the years,” she said.

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