By Cesar Cruz Jr.
Enter the captivating world where veterinary aspirations unfold like a Disney fairy tale. In the heart of the magical realm of Disney's Animal Kingdom, nestled in Florida, USA, Dr. Erikk Cruz embarked on an extraordinary journey spanning over 14 years. Yet, his path to becoming a revered veterinarian was an unexpected detour from his initial dreams of human medicine, infused with determination, passion for animals, and a touch of serendipity.
The good doctor’s story begins with the dreams of a young high school graduate aspiring to become a human doctor. However, life's financial hurdles forced him to navigate uncharted waters. Initially enrolling in a nursing course, he soon discovered that his heart lay elsewhere. Guided by his father's wisdom and fueled by a love for pets, he made a courageous shift to veterinary studies at Gregorio Araneta University Foundation. Despite facing challenges, including the transfer from a nursing course, Dr. Erikk's indomitable spirit prevailed. He completed the 6-year veterinary program in an astounding 5.5 years, a testament to his unwavering commitment.
After conquering the board exam, he honed his skills at a small animal practice before giving life to his vision—establishing "Man's Best Friend Veterinary Clinic." Driven by an insatiable thirst for knowledge, the medical man's journey took an unexpected turn when he earned a scholarship in Northern California. This opportunity opened doors to diverse experiences, from small animal practices to managing a kennel boarding facility. Each encounter enriched his skill set, adding layers to his expertise.
The Tipping Point
The pivotal chapter unfolded when Dr. Erikk's parents moved to Florida, leading him to the enchanting Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which opened for him a whole new world (pun intended). For over 14 years, he immersed himself in the care of large, exotic, and endangered animals. Despite not holding a veterinary license, his role as an animal keeper and veterinary assistant exposed him to the intricate world of managing and treating diverse species.
Returning to the Philippines, Dr. Erikk faced the challenge of merging international practices with local realities. Armed with the wealth of knowledge acquired abroad, he revolutionized his clinics by introducing modern equipment and techniques. Observing a shift in Filipino pet ownership—a trend where pets are treated as integral family members—inspired Dr. Eric to elevate awareness and education on proper pet care. In pursuit of this advocacy, he initiated YouTube infomercials and laid plans for outreach programs.
Beyond educating pet owners, the medical practitioner aims to unite veterinarians, breeders, and the community to create a robust support system. His vision extends to establishing a foundation providing affordable veterinary services and educational resources, contributing to the well-being of animals and fostering a more compassionate society.
As Dr. Erikk passionately shares his experiences and knowledge, he envisions a future where pet care transcends borders, creating a harmonious balance between humanity and the enchanting realm of the animal kingdom.