About Me

My name is Juli Maher, I’m 46 years old and I have been a veterinarian for 23 years.  I  knew I wanted to be a veterinarian when I was 6 years old because I wanted to help animals who were sick and to stop the pain of animals injured by hunting.  I also felt accepted and at home around animals, large or small.  Subsequently, I graduated with a degree in Veterinary Medicine and Surgery from the University of Illinois in 1988.

I started this blog for several reasons. First, I want to inform, educate and inspire people regarding the practice of veterinary medicine. I hope to illustrate what it’s like on a daily basis being an animal shelter veterinarian, and I want to remind people of the homeless pet problem in this and other countries.  I want to make a difference in getting shelter animals to loving homes and in getting effective, affordable veterinary care to people and their pets.  I want to connect with my own family members and friends by sharing my thoughts, experiences and daily challenges with them and hearing their comments.

  My current interests:

Shelter medicine – making the lives of animals living in shelters healthier using traditional Western medicine , as well as HTA (trademarked by Carol Komitor) techniques and getting those animals permanent homes,

Healing Touch for Animals  (energetic healing techniques developed and trademarked by Carol Komitor),

Integrative medicine techniques addressing the needs of the whole animal, not just treating the symptoms of disease, including acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.

My past

I grew up on a small grain farm in Green Valley, Illinois, owned by my maternal grandparents, Eloise and Gaylynn Rampley.  My grandfather raised corn, soybeans and wheat and always kept a small herd of Suffolk sheep, a couple of cows to butcher, a barn cat named Angoura, and a black and white Shetland pony named Duchess.  One of the high points of my life was when Duchess gave birth to a pony for me, Champ, when I was about 10 years old.  More about the first love of my life in a future post.

My first position was at a small animal hospital in Utica, NY, a two-person practice near the Adirondack mountains, where i mostly worked with dogs and cats but chose because I got to do the occasional horse house call.  The hours were long: 8 am to noon for surgery and appointments, 2-5 or 6 for afternoon appointments and 7-9 (or 10 or 11) for evening appointments, which were scheduled every 5 minutes, so that’s 12 appointments per hour, sick or well.  I snuck in an aerobics class over my lunch hour and lived on cold cereal.  I lost 10 pounds  that year  (I weighed 105 to start) and very quickly started looking elsewhere. I ended up in graduate school. Talk about leaping from the frying pan into the fire! I didn’t know what I was doing with my life, clearly.

I graduated from  Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, with a Ph.D. (that stands for Doctor of Philosophy) in Reproductive Immunology 5 years later.   I mostly chose the lab I did my thesis in because I wanted to work with horses (which I did, almost every day) and because it was convenient.  The title of my thesis, to give you an idea, is “The Role of Expression of Class I Major Histocompatibility Molecules in Equine Trophoblast on Maternal Recognition of Paternal MHC Class I Antigens”.

After Cornell, I migrated to Los Angeles with my now ex-husband and started a post-doctoral fellowship at UCLA in a human basic immunology laboratory.  That means there was no clinical application for what I was researching; I was looking into mechanisms of action of cell surface molecules involved in novel immune responses.  I was now directly on the path of being a basic researcher in human or veterinary immunology and I no longer worked with animals.

After 4 years as a post-doctoral fellow, during which time I migrated to San Diego with the laboratory, I had an epiphany I was on the wrong track.  I wasn’t supposed to be a biochemist or immunologist. I was supposed to work with the animals I loved, every day.  Even though this would mean stepping “down” from the Ivory Tower of education /research and being a regular vet “seeing poodles in La Jolla” as one of my then colleagues derided it.

Responses

  1. So cool to find out how you came to be the awesome Dr. that you are today! Keep up the good work and keep writing. : )
    ~Jewel
    P.S. Those La Jolla poodles were so lucky to have you for their doctor! : )


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