Overcoming the Odds

The loss of life gave focus to mine

Black lab puppy with sad expression
Photo by Andreas Vendelbo on Unsplash

Eight years old, standing in the driveway. Holding on to my mother's Sunday skirt. Watching blood drip onto her arm from the still black puppy in her arms. Across the street, my dad knocked on the veterinarian’s door. The door opened, and I could hear the laughter of children.

My Dad returned to us.
No. It is his daughter's birthday. We will have to try in town.

The pup sighed and died. He was a foundling, but he was a life in need. I cried. Tears of loss, frustration, helplessness. 1956.

Eighteen years old, standing alone in the office of my assigned pre-vet advisor.
Holding on to my class list and a campus map. College rookie.

No. Women don’t get into vet school, miss. It is a man's profession. Not much chance, really.

I left. I cried. Tears of anger and determination. 1965.

Twenty-eight years old. Doctor of veterinary medicine. Looking for black puppies in need. No tears. 1975.

The world has changed. Women now lead with innovation as well as in front-line, hands-on practice in veterinary medicine. There is an old saying, “they don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

We care, more.

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Patty Latham

Patty Latham

Veterinarian CSU 1975. Mom. Rider of mustangs. Author of Napa Valley Vets, novel Colorado Blood, and over 20 case reports and features for EQUUS and on line..

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