We’d like to introduce you to Dr. John Earle, the owner of South Huron Veterinary Clinic, in this month’s Career Spotlight.

Dr. Earle majored in animal science at Dalhousie University, where he obtained his Bachelor of Science degree, and graduated with his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Guelph. Working as an associate veterinarian at the South Huron Veterinary Clinic since 1990, he eventually decided to take over as owner in 2017. Located in Zurich, Ontario, Dr. Earle and his amazing staff offer veterinary services such as vaccination, surgery, emergent care, health screening, nutrition counselling, and wellness exams to a large number of local pets. In fact, several of our staff members at Virtual High School take their own cats and dogs to see Dr. Earle.

Read on to find out just how much work goes into making sure our best friends are kept healthy and happy!

What are your current responsibilities within your role?

My veterinary responsibilities involve preventative, medical, and surgical health care for dogs and cats. My business responsibilities involve the coordination of the operation of a small animal veterinary hospital, which includes everything from scheduling to investment to inventory and banking.

What does a day at work look like for you?

Variable. Usually mornings are scheduled for surgery, which may be spays, neuters, exploratory, or mass removals. There are always emergencies that have to be seen to. Afternoons are booked for routine appointments, which might include vaccines, physical exams, check-ups for medical or surgical cases, and revisits. In between these activities, I may be asked to make decisions on management and financial issues.

Why did you choose this line of work?

I chose this line of work from an early age. Initially, I chose it because I enjoyed our pets at home. Later, I really liked the challenge of trying to “solve” the health issues of patients who couldn’t tell you “where it hurt”.

What obstacles or challenges have you faced in your role?

The initial obstacle was getting into the veterinary program. It was very competitive. Marks and experience were paramount. Determination and hard work were required.

Balancing work and family life was a challenge. I chose to remain an associate until my children were grown and then concentrate on ownership. This is in opposition to most careers, but it allowed me to spend quality time with my family.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

Of course seeing an ill patient recover and thrive is the most rewarding, but getting to play with kittens and pups every day is great fun. Establishing long-term relationships with families where I see multiple generations of pets and human members is very rewarding. Helping people through some of their most stressful times is also gratifying.

Do you have any advice for people looking to get into this field?

Getting into the field may be difficult, but if it is something you know you want, be persistent. The more experience you can get, the better. Don’t be put off by the time it takes to become a veterinarian. Once you are a vet, the education is just a little blip in your whole life.

Who has been your greatest role model?

Some of my greatest role models are my parents. My mother, upon sending me off to university, said to me, “You don’t have to go if you don’t want to. You can stay home.” It may not have seemed like much, but it gave a young boy (who had self-doubt and insecurities) the knowledge that no matter what I chose to do, it was OK. This was the confidence that I needed to move forward.

What are you looking forward to in your career this year?

I’m looking forward to getting my COVID-19 vaccine and starting to see my patients with their owners in the examination room. For the last year, only the pets were permitted into the building because of COVID protocols.