When did your interest in Veterinary Medicine begin?
The connection with and interest in animals has been there my whole life. I raised and showed livestock until I was 19 or 20 years old. I even did odd jobs at the local veterinary clinic throughout high school. However, I was going to be a musician, more specifically, a trombone performance major. Shockingly, it didn’t resonate well with me, so I switched my major to the next logical thing, human pre-medicine. The misery of it! I clearly had not learned the lesson about me being responsible for my own happiness and not the reason someone else should be happy. Then the unthinkable happened, I switched my major to a pre-veterinary medicine curriculum. I knew based on how I felt that that was it! The rest is history.
What led you to Holistic Medicine?
I was extremely interested in ‘holistic medicine’ while in veterinary school. Is what I quickly realized, however, was that it immediately drew very negative attention from faculty and classmates alike. So I went away from it. I certainly did not want a label or attention of that sort at that time in my education or life. What farm girl from Ohio would want that?
It was not until 6 years ago that I had a life changing experience that made me realize how silly I was to walk away from it. I had been suffering terribly with recurrent sinus problems and quite tired and done with all of the antibiotics and steroids. I ran into an old teacher from vet school and he said…have you ever tried acupuncture for that? What?! Well, I figured with him being a boarded neurologist and he said it worked for him…OK, where do I sign up? Why did I wait?!!!
Did you have any mentors as you became involved in Holistic Medicine?
Unfortunately no. I was practicing and teaching in academia at the time I decided to start my adventure and there was nobody to talk to. Some of my peers even made fun of it. (Yep…even in this day and age) But, I decided I ran away once and I wasn’t going to do it again. Being at a different point in your life can sure make a difference
What modalities do you practice, and where did you get your training?
Acupuncture – International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS)
Herbs – some from IVAS and much from various conferences
What is the structure of your practice (eg. Solo, group, Integrative, solely Holistic)? How many support staff do you have?
I am a solo integrative practitioner with 2 staff and a very part time groomer. We opened a year ago. While I enjoy being solo, I would love to have another veterinarian here. It is just where I have to start.
What is your physical practice environment?
Very modern and spa like. I am so proud at what we have been able to accomplish in this space. We have truly created a new experience for owners and their pets. It is very calming and open. We even use aromatherapy in the lobby.
What is a normal workday like for you?
To be honest, I can sometimes be walking out of the surgery suite to do an acupuncture appointment. All my days are very integrative using both Eastern and Western medicine and surgery. Yes, I work 6 days a week currently.
What are your favorite tools (eg. Supplies, products, computers, etc)?
Actually, it is my sitting stool that I keep in every exam room. It allows me to sit down and really focus on communicating with the client in a relaxed and genuine manner.
What provides you with inspiration in your practice life?
You know the feeling you get when a patient surprisingly does way better than you ever thought was possible? And do you know the feeling you get when you see how you have made a tremendous impact on a person’s or family’s life? Yeah, that’s my inspiration.
What are your favorite conferences?
I love going to the IVAS/AAVA conference. I have come to know so many fellow acupuncturists by going and it really gives me a sense of community. And, it doesn’t hurt that it is usually held in a great location…..
Are there any other things you do to be inspired professionally?
I would have to say it is my involvement with the profession and the veterinarians I meet.
Do you have any other professional activities?
I am on the board of our local veterinary association and serve on committees for IVAS. I am passionate about giving back to a profession that has served me so well.
I still lecture whenever possible at the university or community groups.
I am co-founder of Paws For The Soul (www.paws4thesoul.com). It is an organization that is bringing awareness to the personal healing needs of the veterinary profession through retreats and education.
How do you maintain balance between your professional activities and home life?
This past year I have had a lot of help and support from my family and friends to try and maintain balance. My husband has been my biggest cheerleader and has graciously picked up my slack at home so that we can spend quality time with the kids when I get home. I also have some fantastic veterinarian friends who have covered an afternoon here and there so I can get the heck out of the office. Even my staff does everything they can to get me out. I am truly blessed!
What do you like to do away from the office?
Anything that brings me joy and laughter. It usually revolves around the kids’ sports or school events or anything family related. I even enjoy going on dates with my husband! Did I mention that I am also a runner?...
What is the future of holistic veterinary medicine?
Wouldn’t it be awesome for veterinary medicine to have our own Bastyr? I would love to be involved or see something like that happen for our profession. However, I believe as alternative therapies gain wider acceptance, there will be a need for such a place. Just thinking about the future of holistic veterinary medicine makes me feel happy.
Do you have any advice to those just starting out?
I think anything we can do to support these young minds and make them feel welcomed is paramount. Seek out like minded individuals and stick with your convictions. I think using a formal education system is important to make sure you have the proper foundation to build upon in using alternative therapies.
Are there any new developments in Medicine that excite you?
I am always excited and in awe at our new discoveries. We are a bright bunch!