I didn't always want to be a vet. I loved dogs and really wanted a cat. I would put out some milk if I saw a cat in the neighborhood and my mom would say "don't feed them or they'll keep coming back." Obviously she didn't understand that was my plan!
When I was in high school, I planned on being a neurosurgeon or a writer. When I got to college, I found I didn't like the people in my pre-med classes, so I decided to go into genetics research. I worked in a lab at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln as an undergrad, then went to Oregon State University to work on a PhD in Genetics. But I found that "bench research" wasn't for me, either. It was too solitary and didn't seem applicable to real life. Plus writing grants wasn't my kind of writing!
So there I was in Corvallis, Oregon, struggling with what I was going to do with my life. I thought about teaching; my dad had been an educator, but I wasn't sure I wanted to be around kids all day. Then my fiance, Cameron, got me a 6 month old kitten. I was in love and thought "I could work with cats all day!" I finished my research project for a Master's Degree, got married, and moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where Cameron started graduate school (he likes bench research!). After establishing residency in Michigan, I applied to Michigan State University School of Veterinary Medicine and here I am today--loving being a veterinarian, talking to lots of people, and petting dogs and cats all day! Life is good.
I started Four Lakes Vet Clinic in April, 2013. I had been working in McFarland, but wanted a place where I could better practice medicine my way. The vets at Harmony Vet suggested starting in the empty space next to them and the rest is history.
I have 3 sons: Caleb, graduating in Nuclear Engineering from University of California - Berkeley and commissioning into the Navy (on submarines), Asher, majoring in Civil Engineering at University of Wisconsin - Madison and will commission into the Air Force upon graduation, and Micah, still in high school. I'm holding out hope that maybe Micah will become a veterinarian (and not a different kind of vet!)...
I have 4 cats (5 on the weekends when I bring Charlie home): Catalina, Eddie, Spice, and Moby and 1 naughty Collie dog (the notorious "counter surfer and stealer of cat food"), Scout. When I'm not scooping cat litter or walking Scout, I'm often playing Fishdom on my iPad or watching the Great British Baking Show while walking on a treadmill.
Charlie became the official Four Lakes Clinic cat on July 22, 2013. Dr. Scarlett really wanted a cat to wander the clinic and sleep on her desk. A trip was made to the Dane County Humane Society, to look for a declawed cat that didn't mind dogs. Being declawed was important as we didn't want any scratched corneas! (If we get another clinic cat, we would use plastic nail caps--we wouldn't declaw!)
As luck would have it, Charlie had just recently (within the last couple days) been relinquished to the shelter and was declawed and didn't mind other dogs and cats. The note that accompanied him said he was 10 years old and a Maine Coon mix.
"Charlie likes lots of attention. Loves tuna. Likes to lay on your stomach and be petted. Will try to escape outdoors because he loves to eat grass and plants. Loves to play with lights and shadows. He is dog friendly." All this was true! They also said he didn't mind being brushed and didn't bite - obviously the previous owners didn't brush him much! :)
At first, Charlie was allowed free range of the clinic all day and night. Then we found him chewing on electrical and phone cords. He then spent his nights in a big cage with all the amenities he loved. One morning Cassie arrived to work to find the glass in our front door shattered. After the police came and looked around, we went to the back and found Charlie hiding in the back of his cage. It was good that he wasn't loose as I know he would have wandered out that door in search of tasty grass to eat!
After several months, Dr. Scarlett's husband, Cameron, suggested she bring Charlie home on the weekends to see how he did. Charlie just doesn't mind other cats and dogs and he did just fine. Eventually the rest of the Scarlett cats grew accustomed to seeing him on the weekends and would sleep in his carrier. Charlie does have a tendency to hide on Monday mornings, so he can have a 3-day weekend!
Over time, we noticed that Charlie was trying to get outside and eat grass more frequently, was nibbling on plants in the clinic, was chewing on phone cords while the phone was in use, and was vomiting more frequently and losing weight. Bloodwork didn't show anything, so we scheduled an abdominal ultrasound. Poor Charlie's small intestines were extremely inflamed, looking most like intestinal cancer. We started him on prednisolone and chlorambucil and he improved immediately. No more chewing on cords, no more dashing outside to eat plants, no more vomiting, and he started putting on weight! He was diagnosed in 2016 and has been doing well ever since. He continues to get prednisolone on a regular basis. He also gets Adequan injections and laser therapy, which have greatly improved his mobility - he can easily jump up to the sink to drink water again, and get up to the high empty cupboards to sleep.
Charlie has an affinity for men and can often be found in the reception area when there is a male presence. He continues to tolerate dogs, often walking in front of their cages in the treatment area just to hear them bark. He often has to share his office space with a kitten and is never very happy about that. Luckily he has 2 office desks to sleep on now! He still likes to chase laser pointers and the light on Dr. Scarlett's magnifying glasses. We love having Charlie be our ambassador!