When searching for a Vet for your furry friend, it’s hard to really understand why your Vet became a Vet, what their specialities are, and their background. That’s why we have begun a series of interviewing local Vets in NYC. Please see below an interview with Dr. Anthony D. White II, Veterinarian at Long Island City Veterinary Center and Jamie Ruden, founder of Dog Spotted.
Dr. Anthony D. White II, thank you so much for joining us! Can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself?
It’s been a long time since I looked back on my life. A safe place to start, however, is always the beginning. I was born and raised in South Jamaica, Queens and though I’ve lived in different places since, New York will always be home. I first started Veterinary Medicine back in 2010 when I was 19 years old and it felt like the most natural thing in the world; I’d always been passionate about animals and science since childhood. As a doctor, I’ve been practicing for a little over a year and I feel incredibly blessed to have been able to follow my calling and work with animals. Every day and every time someone refers to me as “doctor”, I’m shocked. As an inner city child, this, at times, felt like it would only ever be a dream.
So what started it all? Why did you become a Vet?
There were two events that sort of sealed the deal with my becoming a veterinarian. When I was 11, my dog Aspen had a litter of 12 puppies, in the middle of one of the coldest winters I could remember. I knew back then that the puppies needed a really warm environment to survive. My siblings and I put the puppies in a box with blankets and took them to our room. Growing up, I had experienced some winters that made it difficult to keep the heat on in our home so we did the best we could within our means. I remember taking a nap and then waking up to my sister screaming and crying, trying to wake up some of the puppies. We tried everything we could think of at that age but in the end, 9 puppies were lost that day. As you can imagine, the feeling of not knowing what to do or what caused this horrible event was very traumatizing for an 11 year old. I think from that point forward, I was focused on knowing the “why” of things.
On a later date, in late spring/early summer, I was watching the discovery channel, back when they used to have “Big Cat Week” and I saw a new episode with my mother where we watched a black man in cargo shorts and a scrub top stitching a huge laceration on the left side of a lioness’s chest. She’d gotten injured during a fight and I remember the narrator mentioning the term “Veterinarian”. So I turned to my mother and asked “what is that”? She replied “ A doctor for animals”. I knew then what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and there’d never be another alternative.
Can you go a little deeper about your passion for animals and science?
Animals have always been around me for as long as I can remember. My mother grew up on a farm in Puerto Rico and she exposed us to animal care and husbandry early in life. Growing up in the city, my generation definitely had its ups and downs. However, whenever I found myself in a dark space, there would be an animal that was there to remind me that life can also be beautiful. When I found out that I could combine science and animals, my life was forever changed.
Who inspired you to follow your dreams?
I’ve had to constantly remind myself that I come from a long line of strong, resilient women who have never been anything less than excellent. It’s safe to say that my passion for science is a genetic trait. My mother worked in forensic pathology for over 30 years and my grandmother, an RN. I was exposed to many medical professionals over the years, but none that looked like me, a black man.
What is it like being a Vet? What is your favorite part of the job?
Being a veterinarian is more than I could ever imagine, honestly. I think my favorite moments are the ones where I am able to reunite an animal with their family after a crisis, a moment of complete restoration. Using the gift that God has blessed me with, to bring relief to a family and their loved one is what it’s all about, I love my job.
What makes the practice you work at different from other vet practices?
Well, for one, being able to do things like this! Being able to tell my stories and reach out to people outside of an examination room. I am so grateful for this opportunity!
What is something you wish dog parents knew before a Vet appointment?
For the dog parents…. and as a dog and cat daddy myself, let me just say that dogs prepare us for human babies and cats prepare us for teenagers! The difference, of course, being that our furry babies come from a long line of instinctive traits that need to be understood in order to train them appropriately. Some dogs are sporting breeds like your English Cockers, Irish Setters and Labradors who may need a different training approach compared to toy breeds like a Papillon. But like Kids, not one method will work for everyone so it’s important to do some research on the type of dog you want to bring into your family.
What’s something that your clients would be surprised to learn about you?
I am addicted to Chinese food and Grey’s Anatomy aka the perfect day off!
What is your favorite part about Dog Spotted?
I like Dog Spotted for its informative posts and the access it gives pet parents on the latest veterinary news and even where to find a veterinarian!