This is a question I get often, especially by school age children and wonderful clients that like to talk. I recently was asked to read the book Start with Why by Simon Sinek. It’s purpose is to make you realize why you do what you do. Not how or what you do, but why? This made me think back to when I decided I was going to be a veterinarian, which by the way, I believe to be the greatest profession on Earth.

I will admit that I did not plan on being a veterinarian since I was a child. I always loved our family pets and doctored them up, but never considered choosing it as my profession. I was actually a senior in college when God showed me my path. I had always planned on going to optometry school once I graduated.

Three months before I graduated I had a heart breaking experience with my beloved pet George. George was a one year old beagle that I had found at six weeks of age in a shopping cart at Kroger where I worked. I promise he could say “I love you” and “momma”! He was the smartest dog ever and he was my first pet living on my own.

One night, I let him out in my backyard to potty. He always went straight out and came right back. This night was different though and he did not come back. I searched my yard and the neighborhood for him. I got in my car and when I pulled out of my driveway a rabbit ran across the road. It startled me, but still no sign of George. I drove down the road hollering for him and could not find him. I came back and in front of my house there he was, laying motionless in the middle of the road. I parked my car in an embakement and jumped out and grabbed him.

His lifeless body did not move and my clothes became warm with his blood. Just like that, in an instant, he was gone. I sat on the side of the road and cried and felt so helpless. Right then and there, I knew I was going to go to vet school and take care of animals for the rest of my life. I never wanted to feel as helpless as I did at that very moment.

Fast forward twelve years and I am a practicing veterinarian here in Lexington. I graduated from Auburn University in 2006, went to Kansas State for one year and then came back home to Kentucky. I worked at Sheabel Pet Care Center as a technician while I waited to go to vet school so it was perfect when I came back as a doctor.

I wake up every morning excited to see what the day is going to bring. I am so blessed to get to take care of God’s creation everyday. I love that I get to interact with animals and their owners on a very personal level. I try to make everyone I see feel special and loved because I know how it feels to be that pet owner with a broken heart. I celebrate new life in the form of new baby kittens and puppies or a newly adopted friend. I love that my kids get to come to work and see me work at something I love so much. I hope to leave a legacy for my family, and Sheabel is definitely a part of that.

Posted on 2013-02-04 by By Dr. Michelle Jude