Your Neighbor: A good example: Dr. Violet Kirk believes the human-animal connection is vital

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 4, 2019

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By Mandy Haggerson
For the Clemmons Courier

Dr. Violet Kirk is proof that children watch what we do and not just what we say. She was born and raised in rural central Illinois. Her uncle, Dr. Evan Kirk, was a well-respected veterinarian in Springfield, Illinois. She remembers from an early age how much he inspired her passion for not just helping animals, but being compassionate and caring with their owners too.

“Because my uncle was a veterinarian, I got early exposure to veterinary medicine. I worked with him at his clinic through all of my high school years. The moment I could drive, I worked there,” remembers Violet. Violet’s uncle was a small animal veterinarian. “People would go out of their way to say something kind about how compassionate he was when they lost their pet or cared for their animal. They would tell me that he made it as easy as it could be. I heard a number of people say that and it molded my view of what it takes to be a good vet. You need to be intelligent. You need to make good decisions. You need to be compassionate, caring, and understanding. It really was a game changer to put me where I am today with how I practice.”

It came as no surprise to Violet’s family that when she headed to college at Illinois State University, she would graduate with a bachelor’s of science degree. She had majored in biology. And even less of a surprise, after her undergraduate time, Violet headed to the University of Illinois and graduated with her doctorate of veterinary medicine.

The next chapter of Violet’s life would take her out of the Midwest. She and her future husband, Rob, decided that they wanted to embark on a new adventure in the southeast part of the country. “We even had considered going as far south as Georgia,” recalls Violet. “A few people in passing mentioned North Carolina. The year before my senior year, Rob and I took a road trip and stopped at the mountains in Asheville, then we went to the coast, and kind of looked at each other and decided this was it.”

Violet and Rob were married in 2009, the same year she graduated from vet school. They began their new adventure to N.C. Their first stop was Greensboro where Violet began working for an animal hospital whose vet was also from Illinois. “It was crazy because he and I were very similar in our interests. He also graduated from the same undergraduate and graduate schools as I did.”

Violet would find that her true home would be at Hillsdale Animal Hospital though. “I always knew that I wanted children. Rob and I had decided to take a year to adjust to a new state. A new career for me and just adult life before having our daughter,” reflects Violet. Rob and Violet had their first child, Amelia, in 2011. Amelia’s brother, Owen, was born three years later in 2014.

Violet already sees some very similar traits in her oldest Amelia’s love for animals. “We have a cat that is known as grumpy cat. He doesn’t love being held and does his own thing. But every night he goes into Amelia’s bedroom to snuggle. She has that huge heart for animals that you can see, it’s something that not everyone has.” Which is probably one of the reasons Violet felt that expanding her practice to include Hillsdale at Home was very important. “A lot of animals don’t do well in kennel situations. Even though it’s not a bad environment, some pets prefer to mimic their regular routine, and this allows them to do so. It provides an alternative for people who think their pets would prefer being in their home environment when they travel.”

“People think you become a vet because you love animals. I do. All kinds. But the reason I am driven as a vet is the human and animal connection that is so important. Pets are really important to people. Being a vet is about communication and caring for people too,” emphasizes Violet.

Our neighbor reminds us the importance of setting a good example and inspiring the next generation. As Benjamin Franklin aptly stated, “A good example is the best sermon.”