Before I could say the word veterinarian, I knew I wanted to be an “animal doctor”. All my teachers discouraged me, saying, “They don’t let girls be veterinarians.” Fortunately, my mother said I could do whatever I wanted.
I followed my inner guidance in spite of continued opposition, and earned an interview for veterinary school in 1981. At the interview a man asked me, “How is a little girl like you going to handle horses?” I replied, “If 1200 pounds of horse does not want to do what you want it to do, it doesn’t matter whether you weigh 100 pounds or 200 pounds. Managing horses requires skill, not size.”
In veterinary school, my professors agreed, I would make a good horse doctor, but they said, “The old ranchers in Durango will never accept you.” However, the old ranchers that called me treated me with respect, saying, “Yes ma’am; no ma’am. It sounds like you know what you’re talking about little lady.” One man even added, “and she’s a damn sight better to look at than Harry.” Thankfully, I followed my dream.
I graduated from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado in 1981 and continued into veterinary school at Colorado State University, graduating in 1985 as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. In 1996, I attended the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society certification course, and from there, I continued the study of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine with Dr. Huisheng Xie. I traveled to China in 2000 with him for advanced study, and completed the Chi-Institute modules on Chinese herbal medicine, Tui-na, and Food Therapy. I also wrote a text book chapter for Dr. Xie’s book, Practical Guide to Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine: Emergencies and Five Element Syndromes, (2014).