Teacher, alumna reunited during emergency trip to veterinarian

(Photo used by permission of Michelle Myers)
Michelle Myers, physical education coordinator, and Kate Farrell, ’03, hold Mischka, Myers’s 11-year-old Belgian Malinois.

Michelle Myers, physical education department coordinator, met an unexpected but familiar face while bringing Mischka, her 11-year-old Belgian Malinois, to the vet.

Myers realized something was wrong with her dog when she heard her crying on Feb. 5. She gave her a pain pill, but the next day the dog was unable to put any weight on her front paw.

So she decided she would take Mischka to the veterinary hospital in Davis, where she brings all of her dogs and even her horses.

She left after school on Feb. 7 with her dog.

“When I checked in they said, ‘We’ll get Dr. Farrell for you,'” Myers said.

She said the name sounded familiar and told the front desk to tell Farrell her old PE teacher was waiting for her.

Kate Farrell graduated in 2003.

“I taught her all the way from kindergarten to high school, basically every day,” Myers said.

Farrell said she has wanted to be a vet from as long as she can remember.

“My first word was my dog’s name,” Farrell said. “My parents might’ve been a bit jealous.”

Her passion for veterinary medicine continued through high school, when she worked with a veterinarian who was a close family friend.

“It was really interesting to work with him,” Farrell said. “He operated on anything from iguanas to goats.”

Farrell continued her plans to become a vet after she was admitted to Stanford University and later to UC Davis’s School of Veterinary Medicine.

Currently, Farrell is about halfway through her three-year residency in UC Davis’s emergency and critical care program. Prior to starting her residency, she completed a one-year emergency internship at UC Davis, as well as a small animal medicine and surgery rotating internship at Colorado State University.

She has also worked in veterinary hospitals in Argentina, Morocco, and Ecuador.

Farrell said she has actually run into many alumni during her work in Davis as most students interested in veterinary care in the Sacramento area end up completing their residencies there.

However, she has never encountered any teachers other than Myers.

Farrell said that human interaction is critical to being successful in veterinary medicine.

“A lot of people think about going into veterinary medicine because they don’t want to work with people,” Farrell said.  “But the people you work with every day are extremely important.”

She also said that from a medical standpoint, veterinary work is a lot more extensive than most people expect.

“Obviously the (basis) of many interests in veterinary medicine is the love for animals,” Farrell said. “But especially in critical care, we do really medically advanced things that are close, if not equal, to (the work done in) human hospitals.”

As Myers walked in, she said she gave Farrell a big hug before Farrell checked out the dog. While Farrell worked, Myers caught up with her and asked about her brother, Matt, ‘05, who is now in medical school.

Farrell said she and Myers talked about how her veterinary studies had gone so far. Myers also talked about which teachers were still at SCDS, sparking nostalgia on Farrell’s end.

“We talked about some of the wonderful figures that will stay with me my entire life,” Farrell said.

They also talked about Farrell’s dad, whom Myers encounters frequently while running by the American River.

By Mehdi Lacombe

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