HSVMA Welcomes Senior Staff Veterinarian Dr Paul Breckenridge to the RAVS Field Clinic Team
Wednesday, August 14, 2013 04:46 PM

Dr. Paul Breckenridge

The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association is excited to announce the addition of Senior Staff Veterinarian, Paul Breckenridge, DVM, to it's Rural Area Veterinary Services field staff.

Dr. Breckenridge, a Nebraska native, graduated from the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1986. Dr. Breckenridge took a circuitous route to veterinary medicine. While an undergraduate, he worked as a police officer in Ft. Collins, Colo. Finding the community service aspect of law enforcement particularly rewarding, he completed a B.S. in Criminal Justice at the University of Nebraska. In Lincoln, he was selected as an assistant field operations manager for the Ross Ice Shelf Project, a glaciology and geophysical project in Antarctica, during the austral summer of 1976. As the season ended, he was accepted to Officer Candidate School for the U.S. Coast Guard, receiving his commission as an Ensign in 1977. Dr. Breckenridge served as a Special Intelligence Officer at Coast Guard Headquarters and as Operations Officer on an ocean going buoy tender in Alaska. While in the Coast Guard, he met Jody, his wife of 32 years.

After active service, Dr. Breckenridge felt drawn back to his home on the plains. He returned to Nebraska, studied animal science and developed a special interest in regenerative agriculture. Intending to work within the growing movement toward ecological and healthier animal husbandry, Dr. Breckenridge applied and was accepted at Kansas State. By a stroke of good fortune, the Coast Guard was moving their personnel center to Topeka, Kan. and Jody was able to remain on active duty. During veterinary school, he transferred from the Coast Guard to the Army Veterinary Corps. In his summer training with the Army, he worked with the buffalo herd on Ft. Riley. As graduation neared, the agricultural economy was in a severe downturn so Dr. Breckenridge and his wife decided it would be best for their family if Jody remained on active duty with the US Coast Guard and Paul "followed the fleet." As a result, he has worked in small animal medicine, surgery, and emergency medicine in Kansas, Maryland, Virginia, Washington, and California.

In 2004 the Coast Guard moved the Breckenridge family to Novato, Calif. and Dr. Breckenridge began volunteering at the Marin Humane Society, primarily doing surgery while waiting for his permanent California license to be approved. As he learned more about shelter medicine and humane organizations, Dr. Breckenridge found that their goals and philosophy matched his own. Throughout his life, he had been guided by a reverence for life and compassion for people and animals. Working in shelter medicine allowed him to help animals in great need and contribute to the general welfare of the community. When the licensing process was finally complete, Dr. Breckenridge joined the MHS staff.

In 2009, his wife's new assignment moved them to Yerba Buena Island in the San Francisco Bay and Dr. Breckenridge began working with the San Francisco SPCA. Both the SF SPCA and MHS welcomed veterinary students, veterinary interns, and graduate veterinarians who wished to sharpen their surgical skills and learn more about shelter medicine. Dr. Breckenridge soon discovered a passion for teaching and introducing the next generation of veterinarians to shelter medicine and the humane movement.

Dr. Breckenridge first heard of RAVS through teaching students who had been on RAVS trips. Also, many of the staff at the SF SPCA were RAVS veterans. Their enthusiasm for the program was infectious and Dr. Breckenridge caught the bug. In January 2011, with Jody retired after 34 years of service in the Coast Guard, he volunteered for a RAVS trip to Ethiopia where he assisted in demonstrating spay/neuter techniques and instructing staff and students at the Jimma University School of Veterinary Medicine. The experience whetted his desire to become more involved with RAVS. He was anxiously waiting for the 2013 clinic schedule to be posted when he saw the position announcement for Senior Staff Veterinarian with RAVS. Dr. Breckenridge applied and was selected, joining the full time staff in February 2013.

Every clinic brings new reasons for Dr. Breckenridge to love RAVS. "I was expecting quality surgery and medicine when I joined RAVS, but I am continuously impressed and humbled by the extraordinary ability and dedication of the RAVS staff." Dr. Breckenridge commented, and continued "the student and professional volunteers have been exceptional and the heartfelt gratitude of the communities RAVS serves all make RAVS an incredible experience."

When not planning or working RAVS clinics, Dr. Breckenridge enjoys studying science and history, working with wood, hiking, biking, explaining to his yellow lab, Toby, that "fetch" involves bringing the ball back to him once, not several times with intervening laps around the yard before dropping it, and spending as much time as possible with his family. The Breckenridges have four children, three grandchildren, and Toby.