Straight talk

What if?

AASV members were asked what career choice they would have made if they hadn’t become veterinarians. Here’s what they said.

From Dr Robert Blomme

“If I were not a veterinarian, I would be a history professor at the college or university level and would spend my sabbatical leave as a Civil War battlefield guide at Gettysburg National Park.”

From Dr Tom Wetzell

“When I was a child, I wanted to be a fireman; as an adolescent, a professional basketball player; as a beginning college student, a teacher; as an enlightened college student, a veterinarian; as an informed husband whose wife quickly figured out the demands of a veterinarian, a dentist; as an overworked (so I thought) middle-aged veterinarian, a pharmacist; as an older, slower, and hopefully wiser person … I can’t think of anything I would rather be doing than being a swine veterinarian in this profession while advancing God’s kingdom!”

From Dr Craig Rowles

“I might have been a high school music (vocal) teacher.”

From Dr Locke Karriker

“If I didn’t become a veterinarian, I would have been incorrigible. Or maybe a pulp wood hauler. I’m pretty sure that the discipline required to get into veterinary school (and feed my curiosity about science) saved me from a lot of potential trouble and general discontent. Likely, without the mentoring I got, I’d be back on the coast as co-owner of a really rough BBQ rib joint called ˜A Bone to Pick With You.’ I think I’m still going to get the tattoos, though.”

From Dr Sandy Amass

“Let’s see. I went through a few. I wanted to be a woodshop teacher until I was 13. Then, of course, I wanted to be a professional juggler.”

From Dr John Waddell

“If I had not gotten into veterinary school, I probably would have eventually ended up on the family farm. I wouldn’t have gone back to the farm right away since I had considered several offers to become a grain merchandiser and likely would have ended up doing something against my heart’s desire. I have wanted to be a veterinarian since about age 6, so I can’t really imagine doing anything else. Twenty-five years as a country veterinarian and driving an F-150 has also qualified me for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series!”

From Dr Roy Schultz

“I would have been a farmer raising cattle and hogs. I graduated from high school in 1951, but didn’t enter undergraduate studies right away because I didn’t have the money. I managed to get through 1.5 years of college by working four jobs: waiting tables at a sorority, being a janitor in Beardshear Hall, directing traffic on campus, and washing windows. I got through veterinary school because I earned enough benefits from my military service as a volunteer in the Korean War to put me though school.”

From Larry Firkins

“After being in practice the first half of my career and then returning to the university, I have made somewhat of a career change that reflects what my occupation might have been if I had not become a veterinarian. My father was a successful businessman and I have found myself being drawn in that direction to the point that I now spend the majority of my efforts in the area of business and people management.”

From Dr Jennifer Greiner

“If I hadn’t become a veterinarian, I still would have pursued a career in medicine. I would have attempted to attend medical school. However, I know that I would have needed to keep the farm in the farm girl, so I probably would have had to settle down in a rural community with a pig producer.”

From Dr Judi Bell

“Although I wrote stories and poems from an early age, my first career choice was to be an architect, not a writer. For several years, I designed extravagantly expensive houses for all my friends and, of course, for myself. Mine were always in the country and accommodated an endless stream of cats, dogs, and above all, horses. When I was 15, a veterinarian came to career day at school and told us that girls could be veterinarians. I never designed another house. I graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1971 and most of my creativity for the next 14 years was aimed at devising painless ways for a 100-lb person to manage 1500-lb cows and horses. Thanks to our infinitely diverse profession, my present career combines the worlds of veterinary medicine and writing.”

--Tracy Ann Raef