Army veterinarian-to-be ready to help nation's four-legged defenders
Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014
MANHATTAN – More than 2,500 dogs serve our nation in search and rescue, border patrol and deploying with our soldiers. But who serves man's best friend?
Michael White is one of those who will soon join the select group of veterinarians who have been caring for these animals for almost 100 years. He plans to graduate in May 2015 with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University and start a career focused on service to our nation's four-legged defenders as a member of the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps.
White, Westport, Connecticut, graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics and Spanish literature from the University of Virginia, building a successful career in investment banking in Charlotte, North Carolina. But after two years into the job, he couldn't stop thinking about making a drastic change.
"My mom is a neonatal intensive care nurse and she's worked at that job for more than 30 years," White said. "I think her work is very meaningful. While I was proud of the deals I was closing at the bank, when I juxtaposed her work with the work I was doing, it just didn't give me the same sense of satisfaction."
He quit his job and moved to Colorado to work in a veterinary clinic, seeking a life of service that runs in his blood.
"I had been thinking about a military career my whole life," White said. "My grandfather was a World War II veteran and was stationed on Midway Island."
White earned the Health Profession Scholarship through the U.S. Army. This three-year scholarship pays for his veterinary education and includes three to six weeks of military education on a U.S. base each year. Kansas State University had one of the highest number of U.S. Army Veterinary Corps graduates of any university this spring.
According to White, the scholarship enabled him to combine his passion of animals and military service.
"As an Army veterinarian, we wear a lot of hats," White said. "We take care of pets on base that belong to the families. Our biggest mission is taking care of the military working dogs, especially before and after deployments. The dogs that are deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, for instance, can be exposed to a number of different diseases."
It's a job much different than what White was doing before, but as he completes his last year of school, he is taking away one big lesson: Just because you're good at something doesn't mean it's the right fit for you.
This time, White feels like he is on the right path.