Actually, this will probably turn out to be the least weird and offensive page in the whole set. And, actually this won't tell you EVERYTHING there is too know about me (gotta keep some mystery, after all...) but it does get important public details in a nutshell. And, as always, there's pictures. And linkies!
That's me as a senior in vet school with a Corgi named Sarah. Neither Sarah nor I are having a good time in this picture, but I felt obligated to grin. I'll have Sarah's story up someday, as it is worth telling.
I was born in Paterson NJ. I'm the oldest of 3, and I have 2 younger brothers. Don is into the Civil War and he works at Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, NY. Darren is (at this writing) currently based in Southern California and is a member of a CART team's pit crew. The family moved from northwestern NJ to Poughkeepsie NY in 1985, and is more or less still in that same general area. OK, I lie. Dad has since moved out to Farmington CT. Mom's still in Poughkeepsie, but she's soon to bail for Rhinebeck NY.
I was one of those nerdy kids while in (Catholic) grammar school and high school. I really hated the entire ordeal at the time, but I am kinda glad for it now, because putting up with that garbage helped make me what I am today and I really like who I am today.
I was also one of those absolutely horse-crazy kids. I did 4-H. I was REALLY into 4-H, especially Horsebowl. Horsebowl is a quiz game, played with teams. When I first got into 4-H, I didn't have a horse, so I did nothing but read about them, and as a result I was a Horsebowl Master. The Horsebowl period climaxed in 1987 when I was the Captain of the New York State team, representing my state at the National competition in Louisville, KY. We were victorious, winning the competition and I was the high point player for the entire competition. I still occasionally have people walk up to me and ask "Did you play horsebowl as a kid? I think I remember you..."
I got my horse, Trivial Pursuit in August of 1985 and he pretty much focused my desires to become an equine veterinarian by being lame virtually from the day I got him. In his brief sound periods, we did some showing and some eventing and some pony clubbing. We even did some fox hunting, which is a blast.
I also started collecting Breyer horses at this point. But that's a whole other section of the website.
In between buying Breyers, and playing Horsebowl, and hoping the bute would work on Trivia's bum feet, I was listening to the radio. I established the groundwork for my Billy Joel-Weird Al-80's Cheeze Whiz tastes that are still influencing where I allow the "seek" setting of my car's stereo to land.
In 1987 I was off to SUNY Cobleskill to begin my Holy Quest for a DVM. I made lots of wonderful friends (several of whom I'm still in touch with), goofed off at the campus radio station under the pseudonym Captain Jack, laughed, cried, loved (OK, this is sounding a bit toooooo Lifetime TV for me now, sorry...) and did a bunch of that college stuff until 1989 when I graduated with my AAS in Animal Science.
Fall 1989 saw me high above Cayuga's waters, so to speak, as a Junior at Cornell's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (affectionately referred to as "SUNY Ithaca".) I really didn't like this particular round of Cornell, but I did have a good time on WVBR as the more subdued Jackie Douglass. I lived in Risley Hall, and it was a hoot. Don't fear the Risleyans! Anyway, I got my BS in Animal Science in 1991, and moved on to the next glorious stop in my Quest...
I got myself a part time job cleaning cages at Community Animal Hospital in Poughkeepsie. Yeah! Real work at a real veterinary hospital! I learned a lot, and saw quite a bit, and Dr. Ansley was also a Cornell graduate and he was a wonderful guy to work for. He even wrote my recs for vet school.
About that vet school thing...I applied to Cornell in the fall of 1991 (You apply to vet schools in the fall. You just do, I don't know why.) and didn't get in. I was crushed. I tried again in 1992 (and also applied to Penn, Auburn and Mississippi this time.) Auburn sent me a form letter essentially saying "Nice try. Thanks for the $50 application fee." Mississippi called me for an interview. Penn accepted me and then sent over one SCARY financial aid package. Then, finally, Cornell sent me a slim little envelope that said "Congrats, come back to Ithaca!" So I did.
There will be a bunch of more fun, detailed vet school stories here someday, suffice it to say, I graduated in 1997 and went on to work at a mixed animal practice where I got to sample horse practice as well as what I suspect was an undiagnosed bipolar boss. What a treat. After 10 months of that (and most of my friends agree it was about 9 months more crap than I should have put up with) I got out of the horse biz and settled myself in a small animal practice in CT. After spending about a year and a half in general practice, I am about to start workling part time for an emergency clinic in White Plains NY and either picking up another part time job or doing some relief (per diem) stuff on the side to help pay the bills and keep me amused. This Plan should give me a lot more free time...but still able to keep those guys at the student loan office happy. I don't know if I'll remain a practicing vet forever. Its certainly been interesting, but I feel a yen for *something else* that I haven't identified yet. And, how could I forget, I am a member of OTS. You'll have to be a vet to understand that though. Sorry if you're not.
Anyway, to the right here is a picture taken by some Cornell photographer at graduation day in 1997. Gray is the traditional color to wear on your gown when you got to vet school, and you can't see the added bonus of the hood, but its there. Yeah, I had my dog with me. Ithaca and Cornell are pretty canine-friendly places. I'm sure you've also noticed the full length "exam gloves." These particular gloves are pretty much unique to veterinary practice. And you won't find them in your average small animal clinic either. They also make pretty spiffy water balloons and its always fun to intimidate the incoming students by demanding they bring you a rectal sleeve.
This is my dearly departed kitty Fizzgig. She was born around the beginning of April 1985, and died of renal failure at 1:30 am on July 29, 2002. I missed her by 30 minutes. I will be building a memorial page for her in the near future. She was a dear companion to me for 17 years, always greeting me by the door, getting frustrated with me when I didn't understand whatever whim she was trying to communicate...I miss her very very much.
I have a beagle named Kira. Kira is a former lab dog from Cornell. One way that you can pick out vet students off campus in Ithaca is to look for the group with the little, pointy-headed beagle. Kira is a sweety, and makes almost no noise (a remarkably landlord friendly and non-beagle-like trait.) She is also paralyzingly camera-shy which is why all the pictures I have of her are terrible. This one is among the best and you can just about see the cringe on her face. "GOD, JUST DON'T BEAT ME, OK???" She was born sometime in October 1991.
Trivial Pursuit (aka Royal Pocoa) was my bay Quarterhorse gelding. He was born on October 3rd, 1972. I suspect he was someone's reining horse prior to being turned into a hunter/event horse by me. He loves to run and jump. He hated dressage. He was euthanized on March 16, 2003 after falling in his pasture and being unable to get up. That was very probably the hardest thing I ever had to do, even though I knew it was the best thing for him. I was unable to be with him, but he slipped into the next world while munching peppermints and surrounded by people and horses who loved him very much. He is buried in Rhode Island, his last home, and a pear tree marks his grave.Trivia got me over some very rocky places in my life, and I still tear up to think that he's gone.
Well. Aren't you glad you got this far. I'll probably flesh this out eventually, with separate pages about the joys and sorrows of vet school and undergrad and Trivia and all the other things, but that's for another time...