We invite you to take a peek into part of what makes the Uncharted Veterinary Community so unique: our members! We sat down to interview some of the amazing people who have joined us on our amazing journey since the first conference in 2017. Our most recent interview was with Dr. Amanda Doran from Minnesota! Enjoy!
For anyone who doesn’t know you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
I grew up in Sauk Rapids, a small town in central Minnesota. My mom's large extended family were mostly dairy farmers and I spent a lot of time around animals as a kid but was never allowed to be as involved with the farm as I thought I should be. I read James Herriot a ton and decided at a pretty young age that I would move further North and live a modern-day version of that life, plus have sled dogs. I fell in love with Duluth and Lake Superior as an undergraduate and was a sprint musher for a couple of years while working at a GP and ER. I wasn't sure exactly what kind of vet I wanted to be but knew there were tonnes of possibilities and I didn't want to miss out on anything.
I was also one of the first people in my huge extended family to go to university and the first person to get a doctorate. My horizons widened in vet school and I became really interested in public health and infectious disease pathology. When I started school I wanted to be an ER vet, but then realized how much I liked sleeping at night. I thought about being a Wildlife Forensic Pathologist and doing a pathology residency, almost went to Fairbanks to do a Ph.D. on fox Rabies in Northern Alaska. I was very interested in population medicine but turned down a job with the USDA in South Dakota.
When I graduated in 2012, I ended up taking a position in Thunder Bay, Ontario, where I practiced large and small animal medicine for 4.5 years while trying to get permanent residency in Canada. It didn't work out (its a great story though!) and my husband and I returned to Grand Rapids, MN in December 2016, where I did small animal practice for 2.5 years. During my time in Grand Rapids, I found out about the growing field of hospice and palliative care and decided to dive in and pursue certification. Those first 7 years of practice were a huge time of personal growth for me too. In July 2019 I moved back to Duluth and expanded MN Pets, a mobile end of life care practice based in the Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Currently, I am working on starting my own business, providing end of life care educational resources and consultations for veterinary professionals and pet caregivers. I live with Danny, my partner of over 10 years; Lark and Hibou, our 2 goofy husky/shepherds and Kinje, a crabby old peach tabby cat. I love being outside in my garden, riding my bike ridiculous distances, and snuggling my critters in front of the fire on cold winter nights. I am also learning to read tarot cards.
What were you looking for when you joined Uncharted?
I needed an anchor and to learn how to captain my new ship. I joined a few months after leaving general practice and starting the at-home euthanasia business. I used to have co-workers that I saw every day, and all of a sudden they were 2.5 hours away and only available by phone. I knew that having a supportive community was more important than ever, especially working by myself at home. I also had this little baby seed of an idea for a business of my own, an overflowing bubbling cauldron of ideas, and no idea what to do with them. Uncharted has been so so so much more than I ever imagined it would be and in less than 4 months, I feel like I have already gotten a 10 fold return on my investment. I'm a lifer.
What is your current work related goal?
I am deep in the planning phase of starting my own business that I plan to launch this Spring. I am super passionate about supporting and educating caregivers while guiding pets through the final stages of life. I'm working on putting together a website that provides a variety of educational resources, as well as virtual end of life planning consultations for veterinary professionals and pet caregivers. I am also starting to do some more writing and speaking on the ethics of and options for end of life care, effective exam room communication strategies, and personal resilience in the veterinary profession.
What is your favorite hobby and how did you discover it? Would you recommend it to others?
Road cycling. My husband was really into it when we met. He helped me buy a bike when I was in vet school because he wanted me to ride with him. He used an interesting analogy when justifying this to me, I agreed and was quickly hooked. I used to commute 10 miles to vet school whenever I could. I have been getting back into it the last couple of years and have done 2 x 70 and 1 x 100-mile rides (in one day) and plan to do a 150-mile ride this summer, and see if I can get over 1000 miles for the season. I absolutely love it, it is the closest thing I have found to flying and would definitely recommend it (especially if you don't like running).
What is one thing you never thought you could do (or were afraid to try) that you’ve done since joining Uncharted?
I was really afraid to start my own business. For a long time, I thought I couldn't. I decided to choose curiosity over fear. Lots of other people did, why couldn't I? Once I got over that hurdle and joined Uncharted it seemed so much easier. I have asked a lot of questions about different topics and have had so much help very quickly on everything I have asked. I also took Andy Roark and Stephanie Goss's Strategic Planning Master Class this winter and that really helped me hone in on my vision, my values, and my goals for the future.
What is your end-of-workday guilty pleasure?
My favorite thing to do at the end of the day is to go to Lake Superior. Whether it is looking for mermaid tears (sea glass) at the beach at Park Point or looking for agates on the rockier beaches further up the shore, it is always so grounding and no other place has ever felt more like home. I used to feel guilty for doing things like this, feeling like I should be doing other things. Shame is the magic killer, do the thing that makes your little heart happy!
Tell us a story of how another Uncharted Member has helped you.
I have two! Jennifer Shepherd is the first Uncharted Member I met and the person who convinced me to join. She is a referring veterinarian for the end of life care practice I operate in Duluth. I took her out to coffee to get to know her better and thank her for her referrals and we spent most of the time talking about Uncharted and how awesome it was. I saw Dr. Andy speak at an Expo a couple of weeks later and signed up before I got home.
Also, Tosha Zimmerman and I have become exercise accountability buddies over the last little while (I haven't actually met her yet). We check-in at least once a week (often more frequently), share our goals, and generally encourage each other. Its been really helpful to keep me motivated!
You can join the Uncharted community and meet people like Amanda by visiting www.UnchartedVet.com and registering to become a member!