Mayflower tornado led grad Tori Main to choose veterinarian career path

Tori Main kisses a puppy

At the age of 13, Tori Main began volunteering to help animals and dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. After her University of Arkansas at Little Rock commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 13, she will be one step closer to that dream.

Main, a Mayflower, Arkansas, resident and Bertram, Texas, native, will graduate with a major in biology and minors in chemistry and nonprofit leadership studies.

As a student, a science scholar, and a Chi Omega leader, Main sometimes neglected sleep to get everything done.

“The hardest part of my journey was the process of figuring out when to say yes or no,” Main said. “There was a time period where I was struggling with so many obligations, I had to eliminate some stuff.”

Through managing her time and prioritizing, Main was able to use more of her energy to do something she loves: volunteering.

After a 2014 tornado struck Mayflower and damaged much of the city, Main stepped in to help care for animals in the community. She soon became an animal control officer, working with foster animals and potential adopters, all while taking more than 15 credits at UA Little Rock.

Because she loved the animal control work she did, Main became president of the Mayflower Animal Control nonprofit Paws and Whiskers Society. She now helps raise money to assist with the animal control’s finances.

Tori Main poses with a dog wearing a red bandana

With so many tasks on her daily to-do list, Main worked to find ways to tie some of her responsibilities together.

In an attempt to get people involved with her sorority’s annual fundraising event, Main suggested the chapter host a new event that would take its philanthropic efforts to the next level.

In 2013, the Chi Omega Gamma Zeta chapter hosted its first Rent-A-Puppy fundraiser, which has people make donations to spend time with animals from local shelters.

“It’s one of my favorite moments every year because everyone just brightens up when they see dogs and puppies,” Main said.

Last year, Chi Omega raised more than $800 from Rent-A-Puppy to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

This summer, Main will intern for Utah’s Best Friends Animal Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building no-kill animal shelter programs and partnerships.

Following her internship, Main is set to begin veterinary school in August at Louisiana State University, where she received a full ride. Once she becomes a certified vet, Main plans to begin the process of starting her own nonprofit clinic.

“I’ve wanted to be a veterinarian since I start volunteering with animals,” Main said. “I want to start my own clinic and incorporate the ideals of a low-cost spay and neuter clinic. I’ll provide vaccines and spay and neutering surgeries that a lot of people can’t afford.”

In expanding her efforts to assist animals and the community, Main plans to continue her work with animal rescues wherever she resides.

Tori Main leans on a fence

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