Winter joins vet staff at clinic

Jessica Winter joined the veterinary staff at the Hillsboro Animal Clinic Nov. 4. The Latham native says, ?It?s a busy career, but I love it. I?ve known it since I was tiny.?Jessica Winter?s first day of work as a veterinarian at the Hillsboro Animal Clinic was Nov. 4, but she?s already confident about her long-term plans.
?This is definitely where I want to be long term,? Win?ter said. ?We?re in it for the long haul.
?People are going to have to like me,? she added with a smile.
Winter grew up on a dairy farm near Latham, a town of about 75 people in the Flint Hills of Cowley County near El Dorado.
?My grandpa started our dairy in the 1940s, and my dad went back in 1980,? Winter said. ?I grew up there and showed cows?and that?s when I met my husband.?
That would be Hillsboro native Scott Winter.
?We showed cattle together when we were tiny little kids,? Jessica said. ?I tell people I owe a lot to dairy cows because that?s how I met my husband and figured out what I wanted to be.?
Upon graduating from high school in 2002, Winter earned her undergraduate degree in animal science and pre-vet at Kansas State Uni?versity. She then went on to veterinary school in Manhat?tan, graduating in 2010.
Her first position was at the Lyons Vet Clinic in Rice County, which was on the list of counties needing veterinarians.
?When I was in vet school I was part of a program that focused on training vets to go back to rural Kansas,? she said. ?I always knew I wanted to do that anyway. I knew that was an environment I wanted to raise my kids in.?
Shortly after moving to Lyons, she and husband Scott welcomed their first child, Adalynn. Her sister, Alaina, followed about a year later.
When the Winters noticed the opening at the Hillsboro Animal Clinic, they were immediately interested. Owners Norman and Connie Galle were part of the attraction.
?Actually, Doc was my parents? veterinarian off and on for several years,? Jessica said. ?We had a vet that we used that was closer, but for any of our more specialized needs we came here.
?I had somewhat mentored with him before and got to know him,? she added. ?With this being Scott?s hometown, and somebody we had connections with, it just worked.?
Although the family has since moved to Hillsboro, Scott continues to make the hour-long commute to his banking job in Lyons?at least for the time being.
?We just wanted to get closer to grandparents,? Winter said. ?We hope that Scott can eventually find an opportunity in the area, and that way he?s not on the road so much.?
The pleasure for grandparents applies to both sides of the family.
?This actually gets us about an hour closer to my family, too,? Winter said. ?They?re only about an hour away now.?
Winter said she knew all along she wanted to work with cattle, but during her practice in Lyons she developed an affinity for small animals, too.
?I am genuinely mixed?I enjoy all of it,? she said.
Winter said she also enjoys surgery and is trained to use the laser equipment at the Hillsboro office.
?It?s gone well,? Winter said of her first two weeks on the job. ?Change is always hard, but I think for anything to improve and get better, change is needed.
?I think that?s where I was at in my career. I think having a mentor like Doc is a priceless opportunity.?
When they?re not on the job, Winter said she and Scott are ?really big sports fans?we bleed purple.? The couple also like to travel, hunt and fish.
?It will be nice to have the reservoir nearby (for fishing),? Winter said. ?I?ve never been there, but Scott says it?s great.?
Winter said she?s interested in taking over the clinic when the Galles decide to retire.
?I?ve always wanted a career, but having kids has always been in my plan, too,? she said. ?Something that is very important to me is to have this clinic be something that can be both for work and for having my girls running around, too.
?It?s a busy career, but I love it. I?ve known it since I was tiny.?

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