A little girl with a love of horses followed her passions that led her from Portland to Sri Lanka, the Virgin Islands to Vietnam and so many more places… finally to South Florida…all in the name of animals.
Her name is Lynda Clark, veterinarian and naturopathic physician. She’s the person who works behind the scenes at Abandoned Pet Rescue to make sure the animals are well and safe. Her broad and compassionate approach to medicine has saved the lives of countless animals and allowed for the safe and humane spaying and neutering of several thousand during her 10-year tenure at the Shelter.
Dr. Clark will once again be heading out, in the near future, into the world as she begins her retirement, so we wanted to pay tribute to her and tell you her story.
She was raised in the mountains of East Tennessee and as a child always had an interest in horses. At age 11 she started riding. By 12 she told her parents she wanted one and they responded by telling her if she could save the money she could have a horse. Two and a half years later when she saw ads of horses for sale she announced she had raised the $250 that was required for the purchase and to house and feed her steed. Lorabelle as she was first called, became the center of Lynda’s life. She soon re-named her Lori as she worked each day carrying two 5 gallon buckets of water and food to care for her horse.
Her passion for the animal was so strong she convinced her parents they should move further into the country so they could have more land and facilities to care for Lori. And by the age of 16 Lynda knew that being a vet would become her calling.
She was just one of five women in a class of 100 students to study at Auburn University School of Veterinary Medicine after completing a 4 year degree at the University of Kentucky’s animal science program. She remembers the interview was not easy, but she had the grades and made her case.
Her training included working with cows and horses as well a dogs and cats. In planning her future, she decided she would work with small animals. That training took her to Charlotte, North Carolina where she ended up opening her first practice in 1972 which she says she paid for with a loan that required a co-signer because she couldn’t borrow money on her own.
She settled in Charlotte for many years and perfected her craft caring for dogs and cats. Her vagabond life made its first call to her 15 years later. She went to England and began to study Homeopathy. She also became a certified acupuncturist which worked as a successful treatment and in many cases added 2 to 3 years to an older animal’s life with their owner.
She also became a leader in the practice of spaying and neutering when it wasn’t politically correct in 1980. But she found her work made a difference and that’s what was important to her.
She spent 10 years in the Virgin Islands both caring for animals and practicing natural medicine for humans. Finally, a medical condition brought her to Florida. She settled in our community working for the Humane Society.
During those years she interacted with APR’s own Susie Hansen who kept asking Dr. Clark to join the APR family. In 2010 when the previous vet left APR, Dr. Clark agreed to come and work at the shelter.
Her education, she says, gave her the opportunity to work on cases that no one else could figure out. She came to APR well trained to care for and rehabilitate so many animals…. Her success stories include Rudy who arrived at APR, having previously been in an auto accident and who suffered from distemper. She also figured out Rudy suffers from myasthenia gravis. But she was able to use her Homeopathic training to develop medicine to treat his distemper and later used a conventional medicine that has improved Rudy’s life dramatically.
She loves the staff at Abandoned Pet Rescue. She sees them as her family. She says the staff goes an extra mile and “it’s the kind of home you want when you are at work.”
When her last day at APR arrives, she says she’s off again to Vietnam. Her husband was born there. But she also said don’t be surprised if you see her around the shelter too because she may just do more consulting if needed.
Lynda Clark is a true humanitarian and she will be missed.