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Greensboro native returns home years later as High Point Animal Hospital Veterinarian

Kathryn Smith joins the Northwood Animal Hospital in High Point.

HIGH POINT, N.C. — Some of us share the story of growing up in our hometown, going away to find ourselves through college and jobs, becoming mature adults, and returning back to our childhood neighborhood to settle down. 

That’s Kathryn Smith’s story. This North Carolina A&T alum is coming home and saving our pets’ lives along the way.

Dogs are a man’s best friend; for Kathryn Smith, Coco was hers.

"She was with me from first grade until I was a junior at A&T, " Smith said.

Smith said losing Coco inspired her to become Dr. Kathryn Smith, a veterinarian.

“My dad passed when I was 13, so when (Coco) passed, it was a lot of emotion mixed into that, but it solidified that this is what I want to do,” Smith said.

She’s gone from North Carolina A&T to Tuskegee University’s College of Veterinary Medicine to animal clinics across the Southeast. Now, Dr. Smith is returning to the Triad to make her mark.

"My grandfather was the president of Bennett College for years and then was the Chemistry professor at A&T,” Smith said. “My dad was [also a] Chemistry professor at A&T, so [I saw] that dynamic of strong African American people doing wonderful things in the community, especially Greensboro. I hope I can come back and carry on that torch a little bit."

Dr. Smith will join Northwood Animal Hospital in High Point and Smith said she’s ready for it.

"Cliche as it sounds since I was little, I wanted to be a veterinarian,” Smith said.

Seven years on the job, Smith said no matter the hospital, it’s busy!

"Sometimes, it is emergency like they run the dog in that's hit by the car and you go in full emergency mode,” Smith said.

It’s a tough job—one that she said can take an emotional toll.

"As a veterinarian, you have to be as healthy as you can be mentally able to cope with those things,” Smith said. “Veterinarians have one of the highest suicide rates in the profession."

Despite some of the challenges, she leans on her family, friends, and faith for support, but she admits: that the licks and purrs of happy patients help, too.    

"Sometimes, you get the new owner that's never owned a dog before, and they're scared every little thing the dog does,” Smith said. “They’re like ‘Am I right? Am I wrong?’ So, I really love those appointments because I'm able to give a lot of clients education and guide them. ‘Yes, you're doing the right thing. No, you didn't hurt him when you accidentally stepped on his paw.’"

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