Living the dream

Like many little girls, I dreamed of being a veterinarian.  I played “vaccine clinic” with my stuffed animals, from the age of 4 or 5.  And when my mom introduced me to horses at the age of 8… well, it was all over.

Unlike most of those little girls, I didn’t grow out of it.  The vet dream, or the horses.  And now, here I am.

Contrary to popular opinion, veterinarians don’t make a lot of money.  Particularly large animal vets.  We go to school for just about as long as physicians (they have longer and more required internship/residency programs, but aside from that…), and our debt load is similar.  We get less respect (not “real doctors”, after all), and our jobs are more dangerous (how many family doctors get killed by their patients?).  Maybe it’s the masochist in me, but I kind of like it that way.  I’ve never been one to do something because it was easy, or mainstream.  I like getting my hands dirty (literally and figuratively), and I like working hard.  I enjoy belonging to a group of professionals who do this job because it’s what they love, and they can’t imagine doing anything else.  If I wanted cushy hours and a big paycheck, there are a bunch of other things I could have become.

I completed an internship at a large equine hospital in Virginia, rotating through ambulatory services, internal medicine and surgery services.  At the end of that internship (2009), the job market had crashed… so I stayed for another year of “senior” intership-dom.  It was a great time in my life.  I worked hard.  Really hard.  But I learned a ton, and I was doing exactly what I wanted to do.  I also met Matt, who became my partner in life/crime/business.  So VA was lots of good things.

After 2 years in Virginia, it was time to move on.  Matt and I were determined to stay together, and against all odds we found two positions at different equine practices in western New York.  It was not all sunshine and roses, however.  Matt’s position challenged his morals; mine challenged my sanity.  Our research indicated that there were not enough jobs available in the country to even think we’d find two more in the same county.  So, we did what people do in desperate times: we took desperate measures.

In August 2011, we started our own practice:  Twin Pines Equine Veterinary Services, LLP.  It’s a crazy, exhilarating and terrifying journey, but it appears that we’ll make it.  After what it took to get here, I wouldn’t have it any other way.


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