Growing up on a farm in north central Wisconsin, I had a natural affinity to animals. My first passion was horses; my Dad used draft horses in the woods for making maple syrup. Later I became enamored with cows, and enrolled in 4-H and showed them at the county fair for many years. This innate preference for animals was no doubt a significant factor that contributed to my career choice of a veterinarian.
As a 12-year-old boy, I was amazed at the abilities and insights of our veterinarian as he attended to our animals. I was amazed at his ability to determine the pregnancy status of our cows by rectal examination. Given the challenges of artificial insemination, the rectal examination results were sort of a “report card” so to speak of our efforts. I always eagerly awaited the diagnosis, and when the cow was not pregnant appreciated advice and/or treatment to help achieve that goal. Additionally, I valued his ability to solve problems. From sorting out why a cow was sick and how to make her better, to delivering a “stuck” calf, the veterinarian left the farm in better shape than when he came. While this type of practice is considered “fire engine” practice, it was the norm back then. The preventive health programs that are common today were just being developed at that time. The notion of helping people with their animals appealed to me.
My curiosity in veterinary medicine lead me to seek job shadowing opportunities while I was in high school and college. Our veterinarian graciously allowed me to ride along several times. I learned quickly what a large animal veterinarian’s day was like and decided to pursue that career.
Aside from my affinity to animals, my job shadowing experience ranks as the next most important factor that focused my efforts to become a veterinarian. Recognizing the importance of job shadowing, I have returned the favor to many youths considering veterinary medicine as a career. The majority of those that rode with me while I practiced were high school or undergraduate college students. I always discussed the wide spectrum of opportunities that exists in veterinary medicine with them and enjoyed their conversation.
School organized Career Days are another venue to tell young people about the opportunities in veterinary medicine. My practice associates and I have participated in many of these programs at our local high schools over the years.
At the other end of the spectrum, I’ve had great fun going into kindergarten classes to share some of the things I did as a cow doctor. I always got loud gasps when I showed them a cow aspirin and a hoof nipper, the bovine version of a fingernail clipper. Young children are fascinated with animals, and frequently rank veterinary doctor as what they want to be when they grow up.
I encourage you to embrace the opportunities to nurture young people’s interest in veterinary medicine. We have to plant the seeds that will grow into the next generation of veterinarians.
2014 Award Winners
Dr. Thomas Howard and Dr. Robert Leder Receive WVMA Meritorious Award
The Meritorious Service Award is given to veterinarians in recognition of their service, commitment, and contributions specifically to the WVMA and organized veterinary medicine. Two veterinarians were selected as recipients due their years of commitment and service to the WVMA and organized veterinary medicine.
Howard-Meritorious-webRemaining exceptionally active within the WVMA, Dr. Thomas Howard, Poynette, has served as the WVMA treasurer for the past 14 years. He had also served on the Residue Task Force, Auditing and Budgeting Committee and has served as chairman of the executive search committee, seeing through the selection of WVMA's new executive director.
Since joining in the WVMA, Dr. Howard has been an active member of the WVMA Drug Residue Task Force, Budgeting and Auditing Committee and serves as treasurer on the WVMA Executive Board.
Dr. Howard received the award in recognition for his years of commitment to the WVMA and organized veterinary medicine. He has a diverse background within the veterinary profession including serving as state veterinarian, private practice, industry and acting as his own herdsman.
"With Dr. Howard's diverse background, he can always be counted on to contribute to any task. He has proven to be an invaluable asset to our entire organization and pr
Dr. Howard is retired from practicing veterinary medicine, but enjoys spending time with his wife, two children and his herd of Angus cattle.ofession," says Dr. Ray Pawlish, past WVMA president.
Dr. Robert Leder served on the executive board for four years. In addition, he has served on the Public Health and Food Safety, Personnel, Animal Welfare and Executive Committees. Dr. Leder led a Large Animal Welfare Subcommittee that defined five guiding principles to practice by. He is the chair of the Dairy welfare committee and has created a detailed
presentation on how to properly and humanely take care of a down cow.
He was recognized for his thoughtful insights, his unwavering commitment to veterinary medicine, and for his steady leadership.Committees. Dr. Leder led a Larg
e Animal Welfare Subcommittee that defined five guiding principles to practice by. He is the chair of the Dairy welfare committee and has created a detailed presentation on how to properly and humanely take care of a down cow.
Dr. Robert Leder is a partner in a nine doctor practice with offices in Bear Creek, and Clintonville, Wis.
Wisconsin Veterinary Practice Managers Association Receives WVMA Friend of Veterinary Medicine Award
The Friend of Veterinary Medicine Award is given to an individual or organization in recognition of their service, commitment, and contributions specifically to veterinary medicine in Wisconsin.
"The WVPMA continues to set the bar high for practice managers," says Kim Brown Pokorny, WVMA executive director. "Their diligence and hard work to develop dynamic forward thinking CE courses and events has not only helped practice managers, but veterinarians as well by building and maintaining profitable practices."
The WVPMA also continues to support the WVMA through foundation and charitable giving. In 2013, the WVPMA donated $1,000 to the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Foundation (WVMF). Before the inception of a foundation the WVPMA partnered with the WVMA and raised fund for designated WVMA charities. Again this year, they lent their support through Bob Feller to help raise donations for the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Foundation by participating in the Wild West Rib Eating Showdown fundraiser.
Success permeates through the whole organization and their success directly relates to the veterinary practice success seen across Wisconsin.
Midwest Cremation Services of Wisconsin Receives WVMA Corporate Partnership Award
Midwest Cremation Services of Wisconsin was awarded the WVMA Corporate Sponsorship Award in thanks for their continued support of the WVMA and organized veterinary medicine. The Corporate Partnership Award is given to a business in recognition of their service, commitment, and contributions specifically to organized veterinary medicine.
"Midwest Cremations Services of Wisconsin has been a great supporter of the WVMA for many years," says Kim Brown Pokorny, WVMA executive director. "The Blosser family has been an excellent source for the WVMA whenever there are questions about cremation services from our membership and the public."
The WVMA greatly appreciates Midwest Cremation Services of Wisconsin's continued support and dedication to the WVMA, veterinarians and clinic teams across Wisconsin.Last modified on