It takes courage and conviction to take a leap of faith. Students, for instance, come to University of Findlay every year equipped with the confidence that they have made the right decision in their college home. These acts of trusting in our gut happen regularly within the meaningful lives and productive careers that take place after graduating from UF when career and family decisions enter the fray. For UF alumna and veterinarian Dr. Katie Frederick ’02, these decisions have put her career right back in Findlay, exactly where she wants to be.
When Frederick left VCA Findlay Animal Hospital in 2019 after “almost half of [her] life” spent employed there, her decision to follow a new path as an emergency vet for MedVet in Toledo, OH, was, she said, the right thing to do for her family. It was quite a shift for her life, but Frederick embraced the new pace. “I mostly worked overnights, from 8 p.m. – 8 a.m. Crazy hours, crazy shift, crazy stuff that comes through those doors,” she said. “Working emergency is fast-paced and always interesting.” She navigated her way through the job during the COVID lockdown, something about which she is particularly proud, as the facility’s caseload went from per-shift patients in the low teens to the mid-twenties and low thirties. “I feel like any veterinarian who worked in emergency during that deserves a badge of honor,” Frederick added. “It was humbling.”
It’s always been a busy life for Frederick, but one for which she was well prepared by her undergraduate studies at UF. Her hope had been to be a vet since she was little, she said, and UF was on her radar very early. At the time, the director of the pre-vet program, retired professor of biology and animal science, Dr. Linda Peck, was familiar with Frederick and her family. Frederick’s mother, a former teacher at St. Michael’s School in Findlay, had Peck’s children in her class. “My mom said, ‘Let’s go look at Findlay.’ I went to a pre-vet day my senior year of high school and I didn’t even apply anywhere else,” Frederick said. Of most notable value to Frederick were biology classes, particularly those, she said, that took her out into the field to do hands-on work of the sort that wasn’t available anywhere else. Her busy life in college spending mornings cleaning stalls at the barns and being involved with the band programs, among other things, readied her for the involved life she experienced after. With her undergraduate degree under her belt, she went on to The Ohio State School of Veterinary Medicine, eventually graduating with a DVM in 2006.
And now Frederick, wife, mother of two, owner of both a sixteen-year-old indoor cat named “Garage Cat” and of her “doggie side-kick,” Reagan, has taken one of the biggest leaps of her life, starting her own business – Flag City Mobile Veterinary Clinic – initially, out of her car. It seems like a tall order for a woman with so much on her plate, but Frederick felt a call to the city that she’s held dear since becoming an Oiler. “What I really enjoyed in veterinary medicine was those relationships that I had when I was in Findlay,” she explained. “I had been thinking about starting my own practice since graduation from veterinary school, and had done a few house calls while at Findlay Animal Hospital.” After recently getting a bigger vehicle in the form of a truck to assist in getting the business off the ground, Frederick said that things are going well. She has an assistant, but, as the business is very young, she’s still answering the phones, responding to emails, and doing all of the scheduling as well as all the “doctor” stuff. The mobile clinic does everything that standard vet clinics do, but Frederick comes directly to her patients. “It is so much less stressful for the pet and their families,” she said.
As her business grows, Frederick, who has been contacted by a few UF students eager to get some personal hands-on experience, hopes to be able to entertain ride-alongs with them. “I am happy to show the truck to pre-vet students at any point, like a meeting of the pre-vet club, or another event, as I do enjoy teaching and talking to students, but there is currently only enough room for me and my assistant in it,” she explained. Luckily for everyone, though, we will always have our faithful canine and feline friends, as well as the other types of small animals that Frederick administers to with her mobile clinic, and that means the opportunity for bigger and better things in its future.
As it’s near and dear to her heart, Frederick wants to get more involved in Findlay and Hancock County as time goes on as well, calling being able to work in her hometown again a “dream.” She also keeps UF in high regard, maintaining contact with a network of peers that were friends at the University and remembering, fondly, what she took from UF. “I have tremendous respect for the professors at the University,” she said, “and all of the skill and effort it takes to prepare the students for the future.” As a vet, her reverence for the citizens of the area isn’t just relegated to humans; Frederick seeks to make a difference in the lives of all creatures, big and small. “I didn’t realize prior to school how you become a part of the lives of your clients,” she said. “Dogs never judge. Cats do, but somehow we still love them. And since they don’t pass judgement and bring such great companionship, they easily become integral parts of our lives. It is an honor to be a part of the process, being there for the happy times as well as the sad, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to own a business and practice veterinary medicine in a community that I dearly love. I am so thankful for the foundation that I received from University of Findlay.”