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.