I’m a Veterinarian with over 39 years of experience. I started out in Minnesota, graduating in 1979, with DVM & minor scientific writing, AS in agriculture science. My first job was in Washington state for a mixed animal practice, where I saw food animals animals & small animals. After 2 years, I wanted to know why small nutritional imbalances made cows so sick, So I went on to Michigan State University for a residency in large animal medicine and surgery/herd health. Where I was assistant professor became a specialist. I earned a Masters of science/ specialty endocrinology and Board Certification in Theriogenology. Which meant advanced training in all aspects of herd health, including graduate level courses in: animal nutrition (starvation recovery nutrition), anesthesiology, capture medicine, and endocrinology of reproduction, and grant writing.
I came to UW-Madison in 1984, to help start the new veterinary school. There was no curriculum, lectures or labs or even animals for the labs. I and one colleague co-developed and together we wrote all the courses for the third and forth Theriogenology courses, and Ambulatory Medicine and created a full time Theriogenology specialty service for the Veterinary Hospital. I served as the clinical director until my departure in 1989. During this time I completed significant research on’; The Effects of Superovulation hormones on sheep, Embryo Transfer surgical techniques on cattle & sheep, Embryo Freezing Methods, and Fixation & Preparation Methods of Embros for Electron microscopy. I also established normal of Ultrasound diagnosis & staging of pregnancy in sheep”. I developed and wrote the book chapters on the first clinical methods to diagnose pregnancy and infertility in Llamas, as well as herd health programs to improve their fertility, health, and survival of babies that are still used today.
I’ve published my research in science journals and book chapters for Veterinarians. I have also written numerous newspaper, magazine articles, handouts or fact sheets for the public. I have written and presented over 120 different seminars for both the public or veterinarians, while teaching 3rd & 4th year veterinary students and training/supervising graduate students.
While at MSU I was hired by Hewllet Packard Co. to make slides and videos for computer teaching about normal cow behavior and handling techniques. I’ve made several teaching videos on the process of birth, behavior, and reproductive techniques for diagnosis in animals, that are used in teaching today.
I served on the Theriogenology Specialty Board of examiners for 5 years 1988-1993. As Chairperson, I lead the committee to modernized the testing process, computerize the question bank, hire testing specialists and rewrote 25% of the question bank to improve the accuracy of the examination process.
Jan 1, 1989, I left UW, due to health reasons. I dedicated the next 10 years to recovering from 4 automobile accidents. I took some time to finish papers for publication, & served on the ACT exam board. Later, my story of Alternative Veterinary Medicine begins….
Alternative Medicine (AM): Alternative Veterinary Medicine (AVM) includes any medical system or treatments that are outside the standard, modern, western Veterinary Medical Science (called allopathic).
I became interested after injuries I sustained from an auto accident didn’t heal. Specialist at the Mayo clinic were the first to prescribe Yoga, then Chinese Medicine/Acupuncture for therapy for my injuries. The accumulated benefit of of many alternative medicine treatments got me back to moving after a year of confinement to bed and convinced me that AM is a valuable asset to any medical practice. I chuckle now, as I remember, telling my friends, “if I start humming and sitting cross legged on the floor, you have permission to take me to the “looney bin”. I couldn’t imagine that ten years later I would love meditation and study compassion with the Dali Lama.
In 1993 I began formal training in Alternative Medicine (AM). I attended AM schools for human health, because Veterinary AM was just starting. I observed the benefits of AM on the health and happiness of animals and humans. Since that time I have studied: more than 12 types of “Energy Healing”, Homeopathy, Bach flower Remedies, Chinese Medicine/Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Herbal medicines, Magnetic therapy. T-Touch, and numerous electrotherapies. I am a certified in: Reiki levels I, II & III, Pranic healing, Advanced Energy Healing (AEH), Soul Awareness Healing and Applied behavior analytics. I spent 4 years volunteer teaching in the “AEH” school. My husband and I began an Soul Awareness – Advanced Energy Healing training program for health professionals where I wrote curricullum and taught for 10 years. Additionally, I have independently studied via researching scientific articles thru pubmed: Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture, Western Herbs (from a well-respected pharmacist & herbalist David La laserne), Chinese Medicine, esp. herbs, Magnetic therapies, Bach Flower Remedies, and Veterinary Homeopathy.
I have tried many AVM methods for treatment of animals for over the past 20 years. I admit that I remain a skeptic and have found that not all AVM methods work. And not all AVM treatments are safer, more effective or tolerated by animals when compared to Allopathic medicine. The same can also be said for allopathic medicine where not all accepted therapies withstand the test of time. Because of my university background and specialist training, I apply the same stringent standards to AVM as I would to a new allopathic treatment idea. I study the scientific publications that have measured the effects and the mechanism of action, of Alternative Medicine treatments . I continue to spend time searching latest validated research so I will be able to evaluate and compare methods, medicines, or techniques. I strive to recommend therapies or medicines that have been shown to work based on good quality scientific evidence . I combine my years of Veterinary Medicine and research experience with, common sense and up to date science, when I recommend diagnostic tests and treatment options. I keep in mind that the best treatment recommendations are also practical for you and your animal.
Like most animal behaviorist I was fascinated by the behavior of animals from a young age. I would watch animals in the neighborhood for hours. It was better than watching TV, unless there was animal program. At age 8, I trained my pet Hamster, no one told me how. Next our Collie dog, who was trained for the usual; sit, stay and come. Next, I trained him to come with just a look on my face, or change of my posture. The most challenging was, training him to pull a sled (me and Dad aboard) over snow covered roads of Minnesota. The next year, I became the youngest volunteer Docent, at St. Paul’s Como Zoo. I was taking animals, for demonstration, to grade schools and Boy-scout groups. At age 12, I was the youngest volunteer conducting Zoo tours. I remember being afraid to speak and how many kids were much taller than me. Somehow, the kids loved my talks/tours and I was hooked.
I took care of the food, water, exercise, play and training the many pets our mom allowed. One very busy summer, the guinea pigs, rats, mice, hamsters, and cats all had babies, amounting to 84 creatures plus the 2 dogs. When my Mom later started breeding Collies, I was of course her assistant for clean up, feeding, playtime and training batches of wild puppies. On to college for an undergraduate degree in agricultural science which included ethology (study of animal behavior), courses in dairy cow training for handling & show. As a Veterinarian, I was the one to spent the time to teach students, technicians, or clients, how to handle dogs, cats, pigs, goats or cows. If you have ever had to train a heifer (young cow) to be milked, you know how frustrating animals can be. I was regularly, “unofficially” recruited by manager (of the UW Vet. school teaching farm) to train their staff how to handle animals that are bigger than a rat. Because I had selected many of the teaching livestock and I wanted them treated well, so they would be calm and easy to handle around new Veterinary students.
During my years as a veterinary specialist in animal reproduction, I was called on to figure out a difficult behavior problems. Much more common than one would think is that many male animals dogs, horses, pigs, etc. do not know how (or are too frightened) to mate with a female. While I was at the U of WI, I had the task of training the young males that were chosen to become breeding male, how to mate. These cases included research horses, swine, dogs, our teaching herd males and many client owned animals of different species.
My background and natural interest made in specializing in behavior a natural step for me. I began in 1998 by taking numerous courses/seminars offered by both the Veterinary Small Animal Behavior specialists and by Certified Behavior Experts in learning theory, animal behavior and treatment of behavior problems . I completed the graduate level training course in Applied Behavioral Analytics by Professor Susan Friedman.
Over last 50 years of animal training, I have used all styles of training, the old methods based on forcing the animals to comply, and the newer science based techniques using learning theory, and even some training fads. While most dogs, horses, or cats can learn from all the techniques available. I have found the newer, science based, training methods are so much quicker, lead to lasting change, and are much easier for dog to learn to do.
One note about “slang” that surrounds dog training. The newer methods have been labeled “positive dog training” which has more recently been changed to “force-free” training. Both labels are jargon or attempts to find more user friendly titles. The real difference is based on science, or measuring or quickly the individual learn what you want. That is it. Science measures, in order to see if what you think is real is actually happening. And over 200 years have gone by & we finally are training dogs and horses and a few children by the science of learning, instead of “Old school” methods.
Fun facts about Science based new methods:
- Lean toward reward v.s. punishment, but are not punishment free.
- Newer methods don’t judge the animals “reasons” for not doing what we want.
- They focus on the behavior and reward the goal behavior.
- Animals (or people) who are without fear learn faster,
- Become eager to learn more, R
- Retain new information longer.
There is allot of controversy, or plain argueing about the “right or wrong” way to train animals. I see it as normal for a profession that is going through a major shift to modernize. As the old, handed-down, styles of training continue to fade, they will inevitably be replaced by modern, easier methods that work more quickly. Based on science work better in the hand of an average owner with kids an distractions who doesn’t want to become an expert a dog training.
Throughout my years as a Veterinarian, I have provided care for; cows, dogs, pigs, cats, sheep, goats, llamas, horses, a few; birds, turtles, exotic cats, marmacet, deer and even buffalo.
I had the chance to experience the many different worlds available to Vets today.
1. One member of a large rural private practice seeing multiple species.
2. Trained at one of the world class midwest University Veterinary School programs in herd-health and theriogenology combined. Worked with people excellent in their
3. Start a brand new university teaching program from the ground up, inventing, prioritizing and finding resources.
4. I have retrained while rehabilitating myself, in new non-existent field of vet med. in the private solo practice. Combining the best of my background and esp. my research abilities.