“I always had a special love for animals and I’ve always wanted to work with animals. I didn’t get a passion for veterinary medicine until I read my mom’s James Herriot books. Once I read those books, I really understood the animal and human bond. I wanted to not only help animals but help the people who had a bond with their animals.
I grew up in a small town of about 3,000 people in Texas, everybody knew everybody. I went into a vet clinic to work the summer before eighth grade. The vet took one look at me and said, “you’re too young, come back next year.” So I did just that. He had a mixed animal vet practice, and that’s when I knew I wanted to be a veterinarian. I worked for different vet clinics all through high school and undergraduate and then went to vet school at Kansas State. That is where my passion for ruminants, and in particular small ruminants, developed. I also got my Masters in food safety, so my real interest is helping our agriculture as far as food safety and animal health. We need our animals to be healthy before they come into our food supply. My goal as a veterinarian in the food animal realm is to help the producer any way I can, so they are successful.
When I think back about the animal-human bond, it encompasses everything, not just dogs and cats. There are so many people who bond with horses, cattle, goats or whatever they are passionate about. I want to help them have a happy and healthy animal. That is my little role in the big scheme of things. It’s been a crazy wild ride; it’s been great so far.”