There may not be a routine journey to become a veterinarian.
But it’s doubtful many veterinarians have gone to the lengths and career changes Dr. Glenn Ringenberg did to graduate from the College of Veterinary Medicine in 2010.
His interest in veterinary medicine began while in high school and he was working at a western Nebraska feed lot.
“The veterinarians would do preg checks and I ask them what it took to become a veterinarian,” Ringenberg said. “I never pursued it until later in life when I decided to pull the trigger and go to vet school.”
But before he made that decision there were other careers to consider. After high school, Ringenberg went to vocational school where he learned to become a welder.
“I did that for a few years but I missed working with cattle,” he said. “So I became a ‘feed lot cowboy’ for another three or four years.”
Soon it was time for another career change. Ringenberg, who was married with a child at this time, went back to college full time to pursue an agriculture business degree at the University of Nebraska-Kearney.
Again things weren’t adding up right.
“I enjoyed the math and science classes,” he said, “but not so much economics so I switched to pre-vet.
“I was more mature. I knew what I wanted to do and I was ready to do the work.”
Still, there’s no comparison between learning how to weld and being a vet student.
“In vocational school you show up to class, do the work and when the school day is done, you’re done for the day,” Ringenberg said.
Ringenberg spent the first two years after graduation at a clinic in eastern Iowa before finding a home at the Twin Valley Veterinary Clinic in Dunlap, Iowa. Clients at the clinic are almost all cow-calf but Ringenberg will do an occasional small animal surgery.
And when Ringenberg is out on the job, he is working with cow-calf operations. That’s the way he wants it to be.
Regardless if it is a C-Section, pulling calves or preg checks, he is at home in a feed lot.
“There is something about pulling calves,” Ringenberg said. “It’s rewarding, especially when everything comes out OK. I like helping people and I never seem to get tired of it.”
If he ever does tire of pulling calves, Ringenberg has a few hobbies to fall back on. For a number of years he was a goalie on a hockey team but in recent years he has taken to playing a set of Scottish Great Highland Bagpipes.
“The area of Western Iowa has great places to hunt, fish and play the pipes,” he said. “The Loess Hills are one of my favorites.”
It’s just one of the reason why Ringenberg enjoys calling Dunlap home.
“The people around here are very welcoming and they have made this place feel like home,” he said.