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Interview With Veterinarian Patty Khuly

In Her Shoes: Patty Khuly, Veterinarian Superhero

All of us have a dream job we're secretly harboring. Readers recently shared their dream jobs, which inspired this Savvy series: In Her Shoes.

Many of us have soft spots for animals, but Dr. Patty Khuly actually turned that love into a profession. She's a superhero for animals — a veterinarian in Miami by day, and pet health blogger at Fully Vetted by night. Patty received her veterinary and business degree at University of Pennsylvania.

SavvySugar: Why is your job a dream job?

Patty Khuly: I love the immediacy of being able to fix certain conditions. The dog that showed up today, who had started seizuring severely from biting a toad, you know, I can fix that. I mean, it’s going to take all night, but I can fix it. That dog will live and he won’t live unless I do something about it and I know how to do that and that kind of pleasure is really difficult to match and it’s very immediate. Then there’s the other kind of pleasure — a general satisfaction that your work for animals in your community actually makes a difference, not only to help the wider health of animals in your community, but it also makes people happy.

Patty almost became a professional chef! Read on to find out more.

SS: Did you have other dream jobs?

PK: I was considering going into academia and working in art history and going into design. I did some clothing design for a while, I designed my own knitwear. I also went to pastry school; the other thing I dream of was being a chef and I’m still in adoration of that profession. At one point, I sold cheesecakes to restaurants in the Gainsville area, where I spent a year in between college and med school. I have a lot of interests. I feel like I can do a lot of things reasonably well but [being a vet] is what I do really well.

SS: What are some of the misconceptions about veterinarians?

PK: For the most part, all we do is a lot of talking to people. The vast majority of what veterinarians do is writing records and talking to people. Actually putting hands on the animal is primary definitely, but timewise it takes a backseat to the very important issue of educating people who are going to take care of their pets at home.

SS: What would you advise future veterinarians?

PK: I tend to like to tell veterinary students or people considering the profession to always understand that, you really have to take a large, wider view of what it takes to keep an animal healthy, not just you being the one person who is capable of fixing him or not fixing him. It’s a matter of teaching the client how to do things at home and that ultimately in many cases is far more important that anything you can do for the animals in the hospitals. A lot of what we do is education and that’s why appointments take 30 minutes because it  doesn’t take 30 minutes to take a look at the animal, to see what’s wrong with it, to fix it up, and send it home in most cases. Usually, what we’re doing in 20 of those 30 minutes is talking to the client and explaining things and making sure they understand it.

SS: Do you have any tips for managing stress?

PK: Right now im sitting down in the dark with candles and dogs laying around me. I like to keep my house very quiet, I don’t allow anything loud in my house. I have no television. For the most part, I like it very serene at night. Another thing is having my mother who only lives two doors down. She loves to take care of my son’s homework stuff so I do delegate a lot. The other things I like to do are yoga and I also milk. Milking a goat is like yoga. It’s just relaxing. You just sit there and go squish squish squish squish squish squish, it’s really fun.

SS: Why did you become a vet?

PK: I always knew I wanted to be a vet since I was seven years old, then when I got to college I started broadening my horizons into art history, but I continued with the veterinarian track and it was mostly because of my affinity for animals. I just can’t not be around animals. As I speak, I have three dogs curled up right next to me. I couldn’t have a job without having my animals around me. It just always seems like [being a vet] was something I needed to do.


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