Chemistry Alum Now Serves the Community as Veterinarian
An entry-level position at a local veterinary office and advice from one of her Lebanon Valley College professors led Dr. Diane Ford ’96 to a new career.
A graduate of LVC’s Chemistry Program, Ford formed valuable and close relationships with her instructors, especially the late Dr. Carl Wigal, her Organic Chemistry professor.
“He saw something in me that few others had,” said Ford. “He encouraged me always to ask questions and be inquisitive. He told me never to stop learning.”
Ford took that advice to heart, changing her graduate school and career plans after being inspired through her continued work as a kennel assistant and then veterinary technician. She left her pharmacology program, enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine, and earned her doctorate in 2010.
“Then, I worked at a vet hospital, but when plans to buy the practice fell through, I began a mobile vet service,” said Ford. “After four years of home visits, I expanded the practice and opened a brick and mortar business! The Vetting Zoo Animal Hospital opened its doors in April 2015, and has been growing ever since.”
The Vetting Zoo, in Palmyra, Pa., just a few miles from LVC’s campus, is a mixed animal veterinary care facility that provides medical, surgical, and in-home/on-farm services. Three Saturdays a month, The Vetting Zoo also offers a low-cost vaccine clinic for those who find themselves financially tight and unable to care for their pets at standard rates. Additionally, The Vetting Zoo team spends two days off-site 10 months of the year to provide low-cost trap-neuter-release cat spay/neuter services to Steelton and surrounding communities through Steelton Community Cats.
“I love knowing that I’m making a difference in animals’ lives, who then, in turn, impact their owners’ lives,” said Ford. “Animals cannot tell us what is wrong or what they need. Every day is a new challenge, and we never know who or what is going to walk through the door.”
As Ford continues to expand and improve The Vetting Zoo, she is focused on the impact she makes on the animals and community members around her. With her skills in surgery and anesthesia, Ford can be found in the operating room most days.
“Out of the three post-high school institutions I attended, I value my LVC education the most,” said Ford. “LVC challenged me every day. No professor ever closed their door, or turned me away, regardless of the hours it may have taken to help me understand complex chemical reactions or mathematical equations.”
-- Parker Gallagher, Marketing & Communications Student Assistant