I am Patricia Leatherwood. I have been here at AHOW since 2015 and have worked in small animal medicine for over 12 years. I remember that as a little girl I absolutely loved animals in general. I was the child who was always feeding stray cats coming through and the neighborhood dogs were always well cared for, as I made sure they had extra snacks. I began working toward my degree in as a medical assistant, but I could feel that my whole heart wasn’t in it, I then married my husband, a country farm boy whom introduced me to farm life. That is where my love for animals really bloomed. I loved the husbandry aspect of farm life. My heart was complete living on the farm and all the tasks that entailed our farm animals. We had sheep, bottle-fed calves, goats, chickens, cows, pigs and even ducks. I then decided I would go out on a limb and apply for a job at a new small animal hospital in Asheville. Dr Jerry Shelton gave me the opportunity to learn and explore the small animal world. That is when I knew my whole heart was complete. I worked at that office for 3 years until I discovered I was going to become a mother myself. Once having my son, I went part time, but my Why diverted somewhat because my heart was at home with my newborn son and the farm and I left the small animal medicine work until my son began school. Once my son started kindergarten, I began to explore my options of getting back into the workplace environment, but I knew I had to get back to the small animal world. I worked at another clinic for a couple of years, but was not satisfied. I then began to research and explore options yet again. That is how I came to know the Animal Hospital of Waynesville. Here, my heart is complete. I have a job I love, being able to care for animals, educate clients, and overall making my patients healthy and have longer, happier lives doing so! It is not often you get to have your cake and eat it too! I am doing what I love and get the privilege of doing so with awesome doctors, co-workers who are like family and clients and patients that are grateful for all that we do. That is my Why.