Texas relief veterinarian Dr. Leah Myles is early in her career but has already learned how to keep her cup full. She’s found that relief practice is a great way to balance work, family life, hobbies, and exploration of other professional goals. Read on to learn more about Leah and check out her impressive Relief Rover resume here.

What inspired you to become a veterinarian?

Growing up I have always had a passion for problem-solving, science, and math. I knew that I wanted to have an occupation in the health field but I didn’t want to work in human practice. So, when I combined my love for the aforementioned areas with my love for animals, Veterinary Medicine just made the most sense. After I shadowed a Tuskegee veterinarian for the first time, it sealed the deal for me, I knew this was what I wanted to be.

What roles have you had within the veterinary profession? How about outside of this industry?

I have only been practicing for two years, so I have only been an associate veterinarian. However, I hope to get into wildlife, zoo, and conservation medicine soon.

What made you switch to relief practice?

I wanted to be in control of my schedule. I missed important events last year as it pertains to family. It hit home for me that I needed to be able to control my time so that I can be there for other important aspects of life. I also wanted to give myself the time to be able to seek opportunities in wildlife/zoo/conservation.

What are your favorite things about being a relief vet?

My favorite things are meeting new people, helping fellow veterinarians at possibly short-staffed clinics, and making my own schedule.

What are your least favorite things about being a relief vet?

My least favorite things are having to re-learn how every veterinary hospital flows, and also trying to remember everyone’s name because I am horrible with names.

How do you feel that relief practice supports the veterinary profession as a whole?

Relief practice fulfills an imperative need within our community. Unfortunately, veterinary medicine has a shortage of veterinarians and an excess of hospitals. Being a relief veterinarian means that you can aid in the demand for veterinarians and help small practices to sustain themselves.

What supplies or equipment do you bring with you on the job?

I usually bring my stethoscope, laptop, pens/highlighters, and PLENTY of books.

What do you look for in hospitals when deciding to cover shifts for them?

I tend to go on their webpage and look at the layout of the practice, the mission of the practice, and I try to gauge the overall culture of the practice as well.

What advice would you give new relief vets? (Alternatively, what advice would you give someone who is thinking about being a relief vet?)

My advice for anyone who is thinking about becoming a relief veterinarian is to DO IT! It is very rewarding to feel as if you have more control over your day to day life. It’s thrilling to meet new people and it helps to break the monotony of everyday life. Plus, if you never practiced at different hospitals then you can’t learn the thousands of other ways that people complete a task. This instills versatility and can ultimately make you a better veterinarian overall.

How has the global pandemic affected your relief practice?

With the pandemic, there have been more hospitals in need of coverage, so the need for relief veterinarians has staunchly increased.

What are your hobbies/passions outside of work?

I enjoy hiking, singing, and of course brunch!

Anything else you’d like to share?

I hope that in everything I do that I am encouraging other young people who look like me to keep pushing and pursuing their goals. I hope that I can be a mentor to others who come after me and hopefully increase interest in veterinary medicine. I also would like to say to my fellow veterinarians to remember to take care of yourself, because you can’t pour from an empty cup.