Dr. rebekah Hartfield
I have been around animals all my life. In fact, I opted to spend my primary school years being educated at home so I could spend more time riding and showing horses in my small hometown of Bridgeport, Texas.
I was not a model student; not even close. While I did graduate from a traditional high school and enrolled at North Central Texas College, I soon decided school was not for me. Books, professors and the college social hierarchy did not make sense to me, but riding and caring for my horses did.
So I did what any normal 19-year-old female college dropout would do, I went to work for a dude ranch in Colorado. I spent a summer there caring for the horses, the ranch, and making sure guests loved the horses and their time on the ranch as much as I did. And I loved it.
I returned to Texas after that summer with a new appreciation for showing people how strong the love between humans and animals can be, and what we can ultimately learn from one another.
Renewed by my time on the dude ranch, I returned to college to pursue an associate’s degree in equine science and a veterinary assistant’s degree.
I was perfectly happy riding and showing my own horses, and working as a veterinarian’s assistant when I met my husband, Preston. Preston saw how much I loved working with the animals at the clinic and gently encouraged (read: nagged) me to pursue a veterinary degree.
Who? Me? A small town girl, who never wanted to go to college in the first place? It seemed laughable…at first. But I learned real quick that when God puts a desire in your heart, it’s best to just shut up and listen.
Looking back at everything that I have accomplished, there is absolutely no way I could have done any of it without Jesus Christ. After my first biochemistry test at Texas A&M, I thought there is no way I will ever be able to get into veterinary school. After my second biochemistry test I was feeling even worse about those odds.
Nothing came easy for me, but God kept me going. When I didn’t get into veterinary school the first year, I thought maybe I heard God wrong, maybe I was supposed to do something else with my life. But there it was again, that burning desire in my heart. I knew I couldn’t give up. A year later when I got into OSU, the first year about did me in. School was hard for me. God helped me through all of it. When I had anxiety before a test, God is the one that calmed me down, enough to pass anyway! When I failed my NAVLE to get my veterinary license the first time, I thought really? Really God? But again, God pulled me through and I passed with flying colors the second go around.
I ended up going to college for 11 years and graduating with two associates degrees, a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Texas A&M and a doctorate of veterinary medicine from OSU. Now, you tell me God didn’t have a hand in all of that!
I may have not been the smartest or the best test taker, but I was a fighter and I fought hard! I fought to get in, I fought to stay in and I fought to get out. God for sure didn’t make it easy on me, but life isn’t easy.
I am now working for a mixed animal practice in Cushing, Oklahoma. I love my practice and am truly blessed to have been given such a wonderful opportunity with an amazing clinic.
My favorite scripture is “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” -- Philippians 4:13.
God gives us strength even when we do not think we have it. Never forget why you’re here and why you’re doing what you’re doing. God placed a burning desire in your heart to love animals, love people and do something that is so much bigger than yourself. Never forget what your end goal is and always remember to put Christ first and you can do anything!