Warning! This may ramble a bit as I express my experiences and history.
I graduated with my DVM from Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1992. I have BS degrees from WSU in Animal Sciences and in General Studies, Biological Sciences. In my earlier years, I obtained an AA in fashion merchandising from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in 1980 in Los Angeles.
In my senior year of veterinary medicine I elected to spend my free and elective months in a variety of practices. I was interested in experiencing a variety of practice styles and learning how other veterinarians work and communicate. I was able to preceptor a month on Whidbey Island in Oak Harbor. I was introduced to Dr. Eric Anderson and his busy AAHA hospital. I noted how the practice was set up and how clients and patients were cared for. That was also my first month west of the Cascades.
I spent the next month in Spokane at the emergency clinic. The doctors there guided me through some basics of emergency medicine. It was completely different than the day practice on Whidbey Island. The cases were different the medical needs of the patients were different the practice pace was different.
In January and February of my senior year I flew to New York to spend time at the Animal Medical Center (AMC) which was a huge hospital of all sorts of veterinary specialists, technicians and assistants. Wow! How different than anything I?d ever seen. I spent 3 weeks with veterinary surgeons and noted how intense the veterinary interns, residents and specialists were. It was all business! I spent 3 weeks with the veterinary endocrinologist. Such fabulous minds were brewing there. But again, I found it all business each veterinarian trying to do their best but didn't seem to take time to enjoy their patients or co-workers/associates. I guess that was part of being in a huge facility and part of being in New York.
After I graduated with my DVM I practiced in Richland Washington at Desert Veterinary Clinic. I was fortunate to have been hired by and worked with 2 fantastic veterinarians that helped me learn the ropes of veterinary general practice. I was awarded adjunct professor status from WSU-CVM to be able to mentor senior veterinary students while I was there.
I had always envisioned opening my own practice, even though I now know good reasons why that isn't always a good idea. I began a search to find a site to build my own clinic. I worked as a relief veterinarian in Oregon and Washington and then became a full-time emergency vet while I was preparing to open my practice. I worked temporarily for Dr. Jayne Jenson of Tiger Mountain Veterinary. I learned from her that in practice the veterinarian can have a very close relationship with the clients and patients. I learned that a practice can have a very homey feel to it. And maybe most importantly I learned that I could have some time to enjoy what I was doing. I could take some time to get cats to purr for me and puppies and dogs to smile into my eyes.
I was fortunate enough to have a varied background to help me build my "dream" practice. When I was in high school I worked at a clinic in Walla Walla for 2 years after school. I graduated in 1977 from high school. I spent my first year at WSU the next year.
Life happens and I was not able to return to WSU for my second year in college. I worked at D&K, a vegetable freezing plant for the next year working night shift, driving fork lift and other heavy labor work while taking day classes at the community college.
When I had enough money saved I enrolled at FIDM and moved to Los Angeles. I worked at The Broadway, a large department store in downtown LA until I graduated from FIDM. I started working with K-Mart Apparel after graduation. I was fortunate enough to be selected onto a refurbishment group. We traveled around the southwest transforming the merchandising of the K-Mart apparel stores for a year.
I then was settled in Santa Maria California and managed the K-Mart Apparel there as well as assisted the training of a few newer K-Mart Apparel managers in the immediate region.
Those experiences strengthened me enough to allow me to take steps to return to my original career plans to become a veterinarian. As a child I'd always thought about all my choices and thought being a doctor would be a good thing for me. But that was before I knew they made doctors for pets. I'd always been crazy for pets. My mom had to make me return a number of puppies and kittens that I'd found one way or the other and had brought home. The pets had to be returned since we were not allowed to have pets were we lived in navy housing. But, then we moved somewhere we could have pets. Once I discovered pets have their own special doctors my ultimate fate was sealed. What could be better? A doctor for pets, wow!
In 1972 we moved to Walla Walla. I was about 13 and each time we would go to the vet I would ask them if they would hire me. I worked picking cucumbers, bundling asparagus and boxing onions in the fields as those jobs were available When I was 15 the veterinary clinic hired me. I worked for Drs. Follett and Kress. Dr. Follett had opened the clinic years before outside of Walla Walla on a piece of land. He initially built the clinic and lived with his family in the basement. Later he built a nice house on the hill overlooking the clinic. While working for Drs. Follett and Kress I learned how to handle animals and a lot of other things about veterinary medicine. I had the responsibility of keeping them clean and fed. I even groomed them and assisted the veterinarians in a variety of their needs. I did a lot of cleaning.
While living just south of Issaquah at the foot of Tiger Mountain I was working nights at a veterinary emergency clinic in Bellevue I kept looking up this large hill north of downtown Issaquah north of I 90. There was always a ton of traffic on that road. After a year or so of traveling all over western Washington I finally traveled up that hill and found what is now called the Sammamish Plateau. I found a property that looked perfect. Again, I was fortunate enough with help from my family to obtain a mortgage for that property and set to work to remodel the 3 car garage into a veterinary hospital. I survived working with King County DDES to obtain the needed permits, etc to open the hospital.
Since 1997 I have found I can practice in a manner to build on relationships with patients and clients. I have drawn on such a wide variety of experiences to form my hospital and my practice style. I am one of the luckiest people in the world. I've popped in a picture of 12 year old Ali and 4 1/2 year old Action. These are my beasties!
I have a personal blog http://simplysoloonsammamish.blogspot.com/ which is about my garden, cooking and misc things.
For more information about the property, llama, sheep +/- goats and other bits of info review the 'other information' page.