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Houston, We have a Veterinarian!

Waking up this morning, I planned on using my time and space this week to discuss the joys of summer.  How I have been out of school for a week and was beginning to remember what it was like to wake up rested in the morning.  Or what it was like to have a normal weekend filled with pool outings, Terminator movie marathons, and grilling.  Then I saw the shuttle launch.

Just like every young American boy, I traversed all the usual childhood career fantasies.  When I was really young, I was all about being a firefighter.  I collected firemen equipment magazines, watched recruits at the local fire school, and even had a fireman helmet.  The next fantasy was to be a veterinarian.  I worked on an equine embryo transfer project with my local veterinarian that produced a gorgeous little black filly.  I was hooked on being a vet…..but that didn't last long. Then came the astronaut phase where I read about the great adventures of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo astronauts. Lastly, I had visions of public service and political success.  I watched the 2000 and 2004 Presidential elections with the rapt attention usually reserved for things like football and girls in bikinis for a boy in high school.  Man, I was interested in so many things I couldn't even keep track anymore.

None of this really changed when I got to college.  For 3+ years, I tried desperately to talk myself out of going into veterinary medicine.  I worked in D.C. one summer, shadowed several human medical surgeons, talked to people in the athletics departments about sports medicine, and even looked into law school.  Probably the craziest career interest I explored involved working in the intelligence field (i.e. being a spy).  I could tell you more, but then I would have to kill you.  In the end, I couldn't squelch the voice in the back of my head, and one day walking through the barn at the large animal hospital I decided veterinary medicine was where I wanted to be.  I would settle as a veterinarian.  No more big dreams for me.


God works in mysterious ways.  I knew before applying to vet school that veterinarians were everywhere and did everything.  But it wasn't until I made that final decision to attend vet school that I realized veterinary medicine could be my vehicle to achieve nearly any dream I had as a child.  My DVM degree would be my launch pad.  I would like you to meet a few veterinarians serving very different atmospheres.

First, Dr. Debbye Turner Bell.  Dr. Turner Bell is a graduate of the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine.  She is a proud mother, marathon runner, and employee of CBS in New York City.  Oh, and she was Miss America……while in vet school.  (And I thought I was busy.)  This amazing woman spoke at the Texas A&M DVM commencement last year where she expounded upon her experiences as a veterinarian, a television correspondent, and Miss America.  She serves as the resident veterinarian for The Early Show and a field correspondent for CBS.  To learn more about Dr. Turner Bell, check out her website

Next, there is Dr. Kurt Schrader, veterinarian and practice owner from Oregon.  Dr. Schrader is currently serving as U.S. Representative from the Oregon 5th District.  Dr. Scharder is not the only vet who has served in the U.S. House or Senate.  Many more also serve in state houses around the country bringing keen scientific knowledge and understanding into bodies normally dominated by lawyers and political scientists.

Lastly, meet Drs. Martin Fettman and Richard Linnehan.  Dr. Fettman is a pathologist by education, and Dr. Linnehan specializes in marine animal medicine. And they are both astronauts.  Dr. Fettman graduated from Cornell University and Dr. Linnehan from The Ohio State University.  Each one took vastly different paths to the space program, one civilian and the other military.  To learn more check out their bios at

Every one of these individuals sat exactly where I am sitting now.  I doubt any of them could have dreamed where a DVM would carry them.  Here I was choosing vet school 3 years ago thinking that I would have to give up on my dreams of being an astronaut or a policy maker.  Instead I have learned that my DVM can literally rocket me to my dreams, blazing paths I didn't even know existed.  That is the beauty of veterinary medicine.  It truly opens up a world of possibilities, scratch that, a universe of possibilities.  However, try as I might, I don't think a DVM will lead me to the Miss America crown.

PS:  I couldn't write a blog without mentioning Aggie Athletics.  Gig'em and good luck to the new men's basketball coach Billy Kennedy.  I expect big things!!