From time to time, customers and friends ask me the question: “How did you decide to become a veterinarian?”
As a child, I was “Mr. Question”. I at times annoyed my siblings while traveling in the car with my many questions for my parents. I wanted to know “why, when, where, and how” about the things visible in the world. As my father was a hard working man, I naturally wondered what I might do later in life, as so many boys do. In the earliest days I can recall, I wanted to drive everything, from dump trucks to bulldozers. With time, my thoughts migrated to ideas such as: soldier, priest, or doctor. Perhaps owing to the fact that I have two uncles that are medical doctors, I eventually narrowed my ideas further to the practice of medicine. Finally, when in high school, I decided that working with animals would be more interesting and less sad, as I was a bit nervous about working with death in people. Of course, it didn’t take me long to realize that people also suffer greatly over the loss of pets.
I first began stacking the building blocks of education at St. Elizabeth Catholic School in Dallas, where two of my children now attend school. I graduated from Duncanville High School in 1980, after receiving a solid 4 yrs. of instruction in vocational agriculture, honors sciences, math, English, etc. Beginning in 1980, I studied biochemistry as an undergraduate at Texas A&M until I was accepted into the College of Veterinary Medicine at A&M in the fall of ’82. I graduated magna cum laude in May of 1986, and accepted my first job at the Holt Vet. Clinic of Dallas.
My daughter attends Bishop Dunne Catholic School, which I can highly recommend for any family wishing a quality college preparatory, Christian secondary education for their child.
I have been on occasions asked the question: “You attended a public high school. What do you have against public schools for your children?” To be clear, I received a very thorough and wholesome education at Duncanville High School.
Excellence was the norm. There was little tolerance for bad behavior, and there was due tolerance for human diversity. The then small number of black students were warmly received along with the small number of Hispanic students.As a Catholic, I was then a minority in a mostly Baptist town. Yet the protestants were gracious and accepting enough to serve fish on Fridays to accommodate for Catholic eating practices. There were a very small number of Jewish students, but I presume they must not have been persecuted, because I didn’t even know what “anti-Semitic” meant.In current times, I am very pleased with the quality of young men and women that visit The Animal Care Center, seeking employment for their public high school job training programs or bringing in the family pet. I have been delighted to see most of the local school districts adopt a uniform policy, and it is clear that most of the local districts take seriously the matter of student safety.Admittedly, there is a tense societal debate about bilinqual education in the United States. What is not debatable though is the fact that when Spanish-only speaking parents enter The Animal Care Center, even the smallest of school aged children educated in the Duncanville School District are clearly able to communicate in English and Spanish. That is a credit to the parents and to the school system.My problem with public schools is less about the schools and more about the courts and special interest groups. When I was in high school, teenage boys learned quickly that disobedience resulted in bodily pain. Disrespect towards teachers was not tolerated. Protestants, Catholics, and Jews could go to a sporting event or a graduation and pray for the success and safety of the students. Agnostics and atheists were allowed their own thoughts.
In recent years, I have had one retiring Dallas junior high teacher tell me that her school had an abundance of materials that never got used. Her biggest challenge and cause of her retirement was a lack of respect from students and parents, as a generality. As recently as February 2007, a customer that teaches in Cleburne indicated that she hated her job and planned to quit at the end of the school year. She clearly stated that for her, it had nothing to do with money. It was all about personal safety and self respect. Apparently, she had a different experience while teaching in Lubbock.
More coming soon!
Helpful links related to parental rights and education choices for Texas children.