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APHIS Veterinarian’s Love of Animals Starts at a Young Age

Hello, I’m Dr. Jack Shere, the Eastern Regional Director for USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Veterinary Services program.

As a kid, we had a German Shepherd mix puppy. My dad brought her home from a shelter and we took her to the veterinarian for shots. After a time, she got sick, displaying a series of symptoms that turned out to be distemper. She’d contracted it when she was too young for the puppy shots. The symptoms got worse until one Friday when she had a seizure in the kitchen. We called the vet to ask about bringing her in to be humanely put to sleep and the vet said he would. Watching this puppy die was heartbreaking for my entire family. I decided then to become a vet and to never turn down emergency calls so no one had to go through what my family did with this puppy. I’ve kept that vow in years since I graduated vet school.

I started out in private practice and quickly learned there were good vets to work for and others that were not good to work for. I was lucky that I found a mentor at the second practice I joined out of school. The owner helped me to learn a lot more than what they teach in vet school – including aspects about business and working with people.

After four years, I left for regulatory medicine. I’ve spent the last 21 years in APHIS. During that time, I served as a field vet, epidemiologist, area veterinarian in charge, associate regional director, and now in my current position as Eastern Regional Director for Veterinary Services. I also spent most of 2003 as the Area Commander for the Exotic Newcastle Disease (END) outbreak response. The END response was a great experience because of all the people I was able to work with and the great effort everyone gave, supporting each other.

A lot of the work we do in regulatory medicine can be difficult; however, it is our job to maintain the health of our national herds and flocks. Doing this well is the fulfilling part of our jobs.

3 Responses to “APHIS Veterinarian’s Love of Animals Starts at a Young Age”

  1. Linda Simmons says:

    Hello Jack,
    We worked together in Gainesville,at amc. Love tbe article you were always very meticulous and thorough,and a great person to work for. I am retired from fsis but still active in the field with fsis inspectors,who do a fine job as the front line of defence from farm to table in food safety.
    Would love to hear from you again.

  2. Dick Bertz says:

    Jack: I think this is the first time I’ve called up a blog, inside or outside of APHIS. I’m glad I did. I have had the great pleasure of working both with you and for you for the later two thirds of my career with the USDA. We were indeed fortunate in luring you from private practice all those years ago. I hope your next 21 years are as rewarding. Wishing you only the best. Dick Bertz

  3. Rachel Barraco says:

    Hi Doc Jack, you sound like a compassionate vet. I consult a few choice vets for my large and small animals I keep at home. I wish I had my vet license, since it might be easier to obtain the position I have applied for with the USDA as food inspector. Now that I got all that out, I have one big, hard question. What do you think about bute in the horses system concerning horse slaughter?

    Thank you very much, I appreciated your story and I thank you for looking out for animal health, safety concerns as applies to food human safety. Thanks and Merry Christmas.
    With hearty greetings,
    Rachel Barraco in Illinois

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