Do you like James Herriot's stories? Try Jennifer Doll's book of stories about her life as a different sort of veterinarian.
Raccoons Stole My Baby Jesus
You'd imagine a veterinarian living in rural Iowa would lead an only semi-exciting life of small animal and farm animal work. Perhaps at best she could hope for a few interesting stories worthy of a place in a James Herriot book.
But stereotypes be damned. After 26 years in practice, the last 18 in Iowa, I have met and wrangled Black Bears, Cougars, Giant Pythons, and Crocodilians. And that is my short list.
If you don't plan to live outside your comfort zone, then what's the point? That has been my philosophy for almost two decades.
Despite injuries to my body and pride, I'm not quite sure I'm ready to stop.
Ben gets photo-bombed while taking his first selfie.
1987: BA in Biology from the College of St. Benedict, St. Joseph, Minnesota
1991: University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine degree
1991 to 1999: I worked as an associate in private small animal practice near Seattle, WA. During this time, I did little outside of practice with regards to animal welfare issues, however did work with a local animal control officer in successfully prosecuting a felony abuse case.
I was born and raised in rural central Minnesota and have always had an animal under my care growing up, from kittens to mice to calves to hawks. Once out of veterinary school I and my husband moved to the Seattle area where I stayed in private practice for 8 years.
In 2000 I purchased a custom 24 ft mobile vet clinic and set out on a new business venture called Animals All About, Inc. For the first year I worked with the public, but soon discovered to my surprise there was a whole world of shelter/rescue/rehab that was not being addressed in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Area. I then began my work with local shelters, humane societies and rescues, providing any medical and surgical care I was capable of giving.
I also founded a non-profit shelter, Witty Kitties, Inc., to accommodate special-needs cats I took in at various farms and rescues, but quickly branched out to all the animals the local shelters couldn’t or wouldn’t take in. I have worked with black bears, American alligators, emus, pelicans, pythons of the largest sort, among others.
I am proud to have assisted in numerous neglect cases of varying species, most common of which are horses.
In January of 2013 I signed on with Iowa Humane Alliance and now own IHA Veterinary Services. We are incredibly proud of the large number of quality, safe spays and neuters of dogs, cats, pot-bellied pigs, rabbits, and rodents we have performed. I especially like that we are giving aid to people who through no fault of their own (usually) have too many mouths to feed but not enough dollars to have them spayed/neutered. We provide a means through which they can do what they have always wanted, but were too overwhelmed to do so or even ostracized due to the stigma of having too many animals.
Despite many dangerous incidents due to the nature of the beasts I’ve worked with (including a reaction to a timber rattlesnake bite that lead to DIC and forth stage shock, and the need for over 40 vials of antivenin) I still tend to gravitate to out of the ordinary cases much to the dismay of my extended family.
2010 HSVMA Direct Care Practitioner of the Year
Editor/Contributor of book Adopting a Pet for Dummies
Guest on Dick Gordon’s The Story on NPR (5/21/2007): Tough Jobs Segment
2000 to Present:
Animals All About Inc. - President/Veterinarian
After moving to Iowa, I spent a little time at Best Friends in Utah, doing a few surgeries there, and meeting my first TNR vet. I started a private mobile practice with a custom-built 24ft. van, but quickly turned all my attention to shelter/rescue/TNR work.
I have worked with Iowa City Animal Care and Adoption Center, Muscatine Humane Society, Johnson County Humane Society, Iowa Humane Alliance, Cedar Valley Humane Society, Iowa Equine Rescue and Awareness League, and Paws n’ More Shelter in Washington, Iowa, as well as other groups to a smaller degree. I’ve testified in several neglect cases involving dogs and horses primarily. But have also worked with Law Enforcement outside of my county to work with cougars, a black bear, emus, pot-bellied pigs, and other varies farm animal, and wildlife.
Witty Kitties Inc. - Director/Veterinarian
Our shelter specializes in special-needs cats (limited admission) and any reptiles (open-admissions) that need shelter in the Eastern Iowa. I currently have under my care a 10 ft. alligator, caimans, giant pythons, and your smaller and more common snakes, lizard, and tortoises and turtles. We also take in the animals the others shelters can’t, including a bear, emus, and pot-bellied pigs.
2013 to Present:
Iowa Humane Alliance Veterinary Services - Medical Director/Veterinarian
Since opening in mid-January 15, 2013 our HVHQSN clinic has done over 20,000 surgeries using methods set forth by Humane Alliance in Ashville, NC. Our primary interests are dogs and cats from remote rural communities, though we have done rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and pot-bellied pigs. We are very proud of the quality of service provided to people who want to do their part to reduce unwanted litters but were unable to in the past.