Hello! I’m new to this blogging thing but have been wanting to for awhile. I am a really good procrastinator, and apparently you can’t procrastinate when blogging. I have finally gotten the motivation to take this leap. Hopefully my content will inspire, educate and provide comedy relief (intended or not). Here is my story, so far.
My name is Leslie; I am a mother, wife and veterinarian. I am originally from Greenville, SC. Yes, #thatgreenville, but really South Greenville. I grew up in a rural town called Wareplace. It’s neighboring towns have names like Possum Kingdom, Fork Shoals and Moonville, to name a few. My family had dogs, cats (lots of barn cats), and a horse growing up. Most of my friends also had many animals and a lot kept beef cows as well. This is where I developed my love for veterinary medicine.
I followed my dreams of becoming a veterinarian through shadowing at veterinary clinics in middle and high school. I earned my undergraduate degree in Animal & Veterinary Sciences from Clemson University. Those were definitely some of the best years of my life, so far. You will see I will post a lot about my love for my alma mater. Clemson gets into your soul, as they say “there is something in these hills.”
I studied veterinary medicine at Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine in Tuskegee, Alabama. While I was there I lived just 22 miles north in Auburn, Alabama. I graduated with the Diamond Class of 2009! Now, these four years were some of the most trying years (and best years as well). There are so many ups and downs in veterinary medicine to begin with; now add a new people, places and rigorous studies it can make or break a lot of students. I was lucky to have been in this class with supportive people that have all gone on to become great veterinarians.
The end of my fourth year of veterinary school I met my husband. He is an Auburn Graduate (this is where living in Auburn becomes relevant), and we had an instant connection, talking for hours about Auburn, vet med, science, medicine, football, travel, the list goes on. Only problem, he was going to grad school in Cleveland, Ohio and I was taking a job in Las Vegas, Nevada. For two years we were in a long-distance relationship and we had great excuses to travel.
After my husband graduated from Case Western Reserve University and passed his certification exam to become a Certified Anesthesiologist Assistant we moved to Houston, TX with a ring on my finger. We got married soon after moving. We enjoyed married life in Texas for four years: beaches, surf, food, art, music, travel, and friends in Houston. During this time veterinary medicine had become more of a chore for me than a calling. Burnout. While I loved the people I worked with, the culture had taken its toll. Self-care just wasn’t enough to pull me out of the funk and we missed our families in South Carolina. I needed a change.
We moved to coastal South Carolina. North Myrtle Beach to be exact. My veterinary life was uncertain. I did not want to fall into a bad atmosphere again. So I decided to try relief work, or locum work. This means I fill in for doctors at veterinary hospitals when they need time away. I help to keep the clinics’ daily operations going without hiccup and provide “relief” for practice owners and managers. I had found my niche.
Nearly four years into relief work and I am still very happy with my decision. I have been able to spend time with our families. In 2016 my dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 renal cell cancer and we lost him in 2018. Then my sister-in-law was diagnosed with high-grade glioblastoma in 2017 and we lost her in 2018, as well. Our decision to move to SC was well worth it, to spend time with our loved ones and start our own family. Flexibility in my schedule has allowed me to spend time with my husband and daughter, travel, be more present, focus on self-care and manage my work-life balance. My love for veterinary medicine was rekindled and growing stronger still.
I hope to bring content that educates veterinarians and pet owners about the basics and changes in veterinary medicine. Also, I hope to inspire working mothers and parents to be present and not worry so much (I am a work in progress here) and to tell stories of our love of travel, food, craft beer, family and friends. Mostly, I want to share the ways of being a Coastal Vet.