As sappy as it sounds, animals have always been my entire world. I remember when I was just a toddler that my best friend was my cat. My room was filled to the top with “stuffed animals” to help satisfy my desire to be surrounded by animals. When I was just 5 years old and on a vacation with my family I was completely occupied with the task of trying to keep the little Easter chicks hydrated by feeding them with a dropper. They were in a heated display and were becoming over heated. I took them one by one and gave them water and I repeated the process over and over.
My adolescent and teen years were consumed with spending time with my horse. I spent every possible waking hour with him. I polished his coat until it shined. I sat and let him graze and became mesmerized by the sound of his grass chewing. My pet dogs were my best friends when I wasn’t occupied with my horse. I walked them for hours and just “hung out” with them. I am never more content than when I am surrounded by animals. I love their lack of judgment and their amazing loyalty.
Applying to veterinary school was not something I thought logical. I didn’t like being a student and I really was not a fan of math! How then would I finish that marathon of studies? My husband was my number one fan and adamantly stated, “We cannot support your animals without you becoming a veterinarian”. Plain and simple, becoming a veterinarian was critical to my life habit of “saving and collecting animals”.
I received my DVM from University of Florida in 1997. I didn’t know exactly where my practice of medicine would lead me but I was thrilled to be able to heal and help animals. I practiced at a very busy 24 hour facility in NYC for my first year. I then decided to move “upstate” to have a farm. That brought my family to Cambridge, NY for 5 years. I did relief work for a number of veterinary practices from Albany to Saratoga Springs. In this time I gathered tips and habits from practices and veterinarians that I thought were special. I was approached about 14 years ago by a former classmate to assist The SPCA of Upstate NY. She was moving to TX and this would leave the SPCA without a veterinarian. I began volunteering my surgical skills to them 1 to 2 times weekly. I would perform an average of 35 surgeries per day to keep up with their need. This relationship rapidly evolved into sharing medical knowledge with them until I became their personal veterinarian.
Practicing “shelter” medicine is like nothing else. There are no “golden” work ups because the budget does not permit this. The medical decisions come from practice, knowledge, gut feelings, trial and error. I realized that I absolutely loved working with the shelter pets that needed me most. But, what I couldn’t get with this type of practice is a bond that can only develop when in general practice. It is with a general practice that you get to know the clients and pets well. It is a joy to know that you can have an “extended family” with the clients and their pets.
I decided that to merge general veterinary practice with shelter practice it would be essential to start my own practice. It was in 2006 that I dived in and opened my own practice. It has not been without struggle, both emotionally and financially but the reward is like no other. I am grateful to all who have helped me attain my goal of making and keeping animals well!