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.
Dr. Jane Clark Assumes Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association Presidency
Jane Clark, DVM assumed the Presidency of the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association (WVMA) at the WVMA 99th Annual Convention on Friday, Oct. 10. She will serve as president for one year.
"My vision is to increase participation within our membership," says Dr. Clark. "The future belongs to all of us, I want to encourage our younger members to have a voice in what that future is going to look like."
Dr. Clark graduated with from Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1984. She is a faculty instructor and attending veterinarian for the veterinary technician program at Madison Area Technical College. For past nine years she has served as the Program Director.
Dr. Clark has been a WVMA member since 1984. Within the WVMA, she serves as a consultant to WVMA committee members regarding veterinary technician education and essential skill training as required by the AVMA. She served on the WVMA Executive Board for two years until being selected as president-elect.
Outside of the WVMA, Dr. Clark is an active member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners, Association of Veterinary Technician Educators, and the Dane County Veterinary Medical Association. She has served as the secretary, treasurer, vice president and president of the Wisconsin Equine Practitioner's Association and has lectured for the American Association of Equine Veterinary Technicians at their national convention.
With 16 years of clinical experience and 14 years of academic experience, she brings a broad base of experience to the WVMA. Dr. Clark and husband Trace run a small equine breeding facility in Waunakee. She has two sons, one who has graduated from and one currently attending the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. She enjoys riding her Oldenburg horses, traveling out west, creating and promoting the arts and watching sports, especially the Green Bay Packers.Last modified on