Blog Post Sample

So You Want to be a Veterinarian, huh?

I’m rushing out the door at 6:50 am when the thought occurs to me, I forgot to read up on pig anesthesia last night!!

How many of you have that same thought? No? Just me? Oh.

You probably guessed it; I’m a veterinarian. I graduated vet school way back in 1999. {And yes, we did party like it was 1999, if you were wondering.} I can remember the anxious feelings as Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine handed me my diploma and basically told me that I had to leave. (Cue the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld yelling, “NO MORE SCHOOL FOR YOU!”)

Wait! What?

It was at that moment I knew that I should’ve gone to grad school like a couple of my undergrad professors were begging, um, strongly encouraging me to do. I could’ve gotten at least 2 more years and a stipend! No! This couldn’t be real! I wasn’t ready. I mean, I still had to pull out my little “cheat book” from the pocket of my white lab coat to look up dosages, protocols, and differential diagnoses. Surely there was a mistake. Surely four years hadn’t passed that quickly.

Turns out, I did have to leave, and I did have to report to my first job within two weeks of graduating. To my knowledge, I didn’t kill anything that first week, or maybe even the first month. I eventually lost my cheat book and things began to click in my head. I was a practicing veterinarian.

My dad and mom were so proud and telling everyone they knew. People from my tiny hometown were cheering me on. My veterinarian father-in-law gifted me my first colic bucket, pump, and tubes. I was rocking and rolling. Until I wasn’t. . .

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In my first year of practicing, I realized that I loved science and medicine, but I didn’t like clinical practice.  My INTP self was miserable having to make people happy all day (including most nights while doing emergency calls.)  One thing I found out really quickly:  YOU CAN’T MAKE EVERYONE HAPPY. No matter what, people are always going to be unhappy with you about something, usually the price of your services. This aspect of practicing became my sticking point. 

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Fast forward 20 years, 5 different clinics, and a 5-year break from clinical practice, I’m rushing around town delivering kids to school and just trying to make it to work early so that I can at least Google pig anesthesia. 

Practicing veterinary medicine is a thankless but rewarding career.  The wins are wonderful: That parvo puppy who is going home ALIVE, the 12-year-old beagle who can walk again thanks to steroids, the therapy dog who prances out of the office to finish his work for the day.  But the losses. The losses are brutal.  The losses find their way home with me and usually enter my thoughts and dreams for days (sometimes months) to come.  I play the coulda-shoulda-woulda game constantly. I just can’t seem the shake it off. (I’ve really tried, Taylor Swift.)

For these reasons, I’m entering a season of “retirement planning” where I’m learning new skills and figuring out what I want to be when I grow up.  I’m excited about the opportunity to officially retire from clinical practice while using my medical knowledge to pursue my first love, writing, proofreading, and editing. I’m always up for a challenge, and I believe that as long as I have a brain in my head, I can learn a new skill. 

The past 20 years have been quite the roller-coaster ride.  I’ve worked as everything from an associate veterinarian, to relief veterinarian, to practice owner. I’ve learned a lot about business, and I’ve learned a lot more about what NOT to do.  I’ve performed some amazing surgeries, and I’ve gotten to love on a lot of adorable dogs and cats. I’ve made lifelong friends along the way, and for that, I’m forever grateful.  

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My transition will be a slow one.  The learning process will be tough.  Bring on the challenge!  

Until then, I’ll empty those anal glands, spay those fat 75-pound dogs, figure out why Fluffy will only eat sausage balls, and reassure Mrs. Smith that I’m actually not “just in it for the money.” 



Do you have a question for me?  Do you want to know more about a day in my life? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll try to oblige.  {NOTE: I will not answer medical questions pertaining to your animal. Go visit your local veterinarian.  I bet you have a few awesome ones in your town!}




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