Balancing Vet Calls and Kid Care
Launching a career as a veterinarian takes time, money and hard work. Launching a career as a large animal veterinarian and being a new mom on top of that takes courage; and a great support group.
By the time Perrie Neal got her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 2014, she and her husband, Ty, wanted to start a family. “I was out of vet school for only about a year when my daughter, Bridey, was born. That was followed 16-months later by the birth of our son, Hawkins.”
Perrie says she wants to be a good veterinarian and also a good parent. “It helps that I have a good support system. My husband’s family loves to help with the kids while I work and my husband is
fantastic help. He can change a diaper and pack a diaper bag as well as I can. In order to spend quality time with the children, I have slowly tried to put the laundry, dishes and cleaning on the back burner. Three years ago, I always wanted my house neat. Now, I want my kids to remember me playing with them.”
The experience of growing up on a ranch near Dillon may have steered Perrie towards veterinary medicine. “When I was in 8th grade, we had to do a presentation of what you wanted to be when you grew up. I did mine on being a
vet, and found it very interesting. Over time, I got really serious about it.”
She loves ranching with Ty and his father; the family raises purebred (cattle for breeding) Black Angus as well as commercial (cattle for meat) cattle. They grow wheat, cover crops, and just planted their first grass-seed crop.
“We try to involve the kids as much as we can, as long as it’s safe,” says Perrie. “We have a Side-by-Side that our kids can play in while we’re fencing. We have them help with little things; for instance, when I pull clips off of the fence, I have Bridey hold them and count them. They are still too young to come with me while I’m on most of my vet calls, but I will bring them if I’m doing something simple, such as a health check on cattle where I am primarily just looking at the cattle. That’s good because I can tell them what I’m doing and what I’m looking for in a healthy cow.”
Even as young as they are, the kids enjoy ranch-oriented life. “Bridey loves her toy farm animals and has a real horse named Socks. She’ll help feed Socks who has a pink bucket. Hawkins loves tractors and calls every tractor a Daddy Hay Go. We absolutely stress safety when being around animals and equipment.”
Both kids have already started their own cow herds with a couple of older pregnant cows given to each one by a neighbor. “Both of these cows had heifers (females) so they’re each on their way to
growing their herd. They love it and can pick their cows out of the herd.”
Perrie has always wanted to have a career doing something she loved, yet one that gave her the ability to raise her kids on a ranch and bring in extra non-farm income. “I really enjoy being a veterinarian, especially working on cattle. I have a passion for agriculture and my career—it’s different every day and it’s great I can share my experiences with my kids.”
Perrie and husband, Ty, are members of Big Horn County Farm Bureau.
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