Holly Jacobson: I became a vet to strengthen, lengthen loving bonds

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Holly Jacobson

Editor’s note: The Daily Reporter occasionally features photos and stories of pets and their companions in the community. Here, local veterinarian Holly Jacobson shares why she went into animal medicine.

Iam often asked why I became a veterinarian. Growing up on a farm near Lafayette, we had dogs, cats, horses, guinea pigs and even goats. I learned from an early age how animals enrich our lives, and how we are stewards for their well-being. But mostly, I learned they are full of surprises. For example, when we brought home our first goat, she kept getting fatter and fatter. We assumed she was being overfed. Unbeknownst to everyone, she was pregnant! She gave birth to two baby kids — a “three for the price of one” deal. Those goats grew to be constant companions, following me everywhere, just like dogs.

After college at Colorado State University, I returned home to attend Purdue Veterinary School. I received my Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1994, and I have been working in private practice since. After all this time, I am still amazed at how we can learn from animals. Once, I had a blind and deaf puppy brought to me to be euthanized because her breeder couldn’t sell or care for her. Instead, I took the dog home, and “Pumpkin” became a loving member of my family, and lived out her full life with us. I often remember that despite her “disabilities,” she rarely bumped into furniture or walls. She had memorized the layout of the home, and what she could not fully see, she could smell. She could smell so well, in fact, that she never missed a mealtime.

In our practice at Westwood Veterinary Clinic, we have the privilege of seeing all sorts of cats and dogs. We see purebred, AKC Champion dogs, and we see pound rescues. We see purebred cats, and we see kittens whose parentage we will never know. But no matter their background, all of them are loved by and return love to their owners. I guess that’s the real reason I became a veterinarian — to strengthen and lengthen that love as much as possible. As fellow veterinarian and author James Herriot wrote, “Everyone who acquires a dog has to face the fact that they do not live long enough and that there is sadness ahead.” That is still the case; dogs and cats do not live long enough, but through veterinary medicine and research we have learned to prolong their lives considerably. Like people, pets that see preventative care early in their lives typically reap the benefits later in life. That includes the regular use of heartworm preventative and vaccinations against such diseases as feline leukemia and rabies.

Today, Westwood Veterinary Clinic is proud to offer the latest in diagnostic and treatment equipment. Our remodeled clinic offers digital x-rays, which can be instantly transmitted to a specialist anywhere in the world for interpretation. We offer the latest in ultrasound technology for non-invasive internal examinations. We have added machines that use artificial intelligence to analyze blood and stool samples. We are even adding a new treatment facility that will support digital dental x-rays and dental procedures. All of this, combined with our outstanding and compassionate staff, enable us to do everything we can to be the best vet for your pet.