Settled in the wintery woods of New Hampshire I look back on the perambulations of my life and marvel at the unplanned sidesteps and meanderings. I grew up near the shores of Lake Ontario, in a Rochester New York. I liked science, but wasn’t one of those annoying little girls who ‘loves animals’ and ‘always wanted to be a vet’. Cats roamed around our house. The closest I got to a horse was watching Dale Evans ride Buttermilk on TV.
Graduating from Sarah Lawrence in 1970, I dove into the hippy world of drop out, tune in, turn on culture. On a commune in California, I learned to milk goats, shear sheep, trim horse’s hooves, and get along living with a bunch of lunatics in teepees and yurts. Sick of having no money, I thought becoming a veterinarian could give me a solid living, I could be in a barn instead of an office and have the side benefit of a good dose of science which I had always loved. No one told me getting into vet school was hard.
How I managed to get accepted to University of Pennsylvania in 1974 is a long story, which I plan to tell you later. I trained to be a large animal veterinarian during a time when vanishing few women were admitted to veterinary school and most large animal vets were men. After graduation, I spent years trying to break into that world. I took care of dairy and beef cattle, sheep, and a few horses. My practice was in Utah and Idaho, where I earned the nickname Lady Cow Vet.
I’ve written a memoir, Lady Cow Vet telling tales of my years taking care of Mormon cows. My marriage to a hippy musician is part of the story. Finally, standing up to my ankles in cow manure, freezing in a Utah winter delivering a calf at midnight, it occurred to me that maybe this wasn’t the career for me after all. I left Utah, changed directions many times, had a son with a second husband, worked in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, started a few companies, got another divorce, and survived it all with a modicum of optimism intact
Eight months in Israel
In 1983, I did a sabbatical at Ben Gurion University in Beersheba, Israel. There was a veterinary hospital there, and they asked me to help them learn how to do embryo transfer, a skill I learned working at an embryo transfer company in California.
Here I am trying to pass a catheter into the uterus of a camel. David Maserski, who was helping to illustrate a book on the anatomy of the camel, is helping to hold the camel still. Why was I in Israel? Because I had met a handsome Israeli veterinarian who would become my second husband. More on my adventures in Israel later.