University of Wisconsin–Madison

A Course of Her Own Making

Jane Renee (JR) Lund’s MS’07, DVM’07 latest adventure, a residency in diagnostic imaging, is many years in the making. In the ten years since graduating with her DVM/MS, Lund has charted her career course like an agile sailor, picking points on the horizon and fluidly adjusting to the conditions.

From being an equine veterinarian, to working with military working dogs in Afghanistan, to teaching veterinary technicians and working as a small animal emergency veterinarian, Lund has sought out contrasting experiences — always open to learning from the diversity of perspectives she encounters along the way.

As a teacher and student of life, Lund has advice for current DVM students: “Keep your eyes open and just say ‘yes’ when opportunities present themselves. There are a million things you can do — important things that need to be done. Yet know that once you recognize this, you’ll never have time enough to do all that you are capable of.”

Lund’s first big yes was joining the Army Reserves in 2010. It was quite a departure from her previous work as an associate equine veterinarian in Maine.

As a young woman, she grew up riding performance horses and training in dressage. She always knew she wanted to work with horses and was doing just that when she tacked right instead of left and volunteered, as an equine ambulatory veterinarian, for a six-month deployment with the Kentucky National Guard in Afghanistan. As a subject matter expert and animal husbandry specialist for the Agribusiness Development Team, she conducted train-the-trainer sessions in health, disease, and nutrition with Afghan paraveterinarians, teaching them the basics of veterinary and wound care for goats, sheep, and cattle.

Lund witnessed firsthand how these programs improved herd health, thereby increasing livelihoods and creating greater economic stability within villages across the Kandahar Province. She fondly remembers one elderly gentleman who brought his donkey to her saying, “He is my Cadillac limousine, make him well.”

One week after returning from Afghanistan, Lund said yes again and volunteered to plan the veterinary mission in Cambodia and Indonesia for the Navy Pacific Partnership — an annual deployment of forces from the Pacific Fleet of the U.S. Navy, in cooperation with nongovernmental organizations and regional governments, to provide humanitarian, medical, and engineering assistance. Over the next eight months, while teaching full-time for a veterinary technology program, she planned this mission from home and at meetings in Hawaii and San Diego. Lund’s duties in the Pacific led her to remote areas, setting up foot and mouth vaccination and prevention programs, spay and neuter clinics, and coordinating with local officials and organizations to create sustainable regional programs.

It was no coincidence that her decision to do a residency in diagnostic imaging at the UW School of Veterinary Medicine was influenced by a military experience. After serving with the Kentucky National Guard in Afghanistan, she opted to stay on with the Active Army Unit. A pivotal meeting with Major Patrick Grimm, the only board-certified veterinary radiologist in Afghanistan and one of the soldiers responsible for keeping the K9s performing at their peak, caused Lund to say yes again. “The military takes great care of their dogs. They keep soldiers safe, are good for morale, and can go where soldiers can’t,” she says.

“The veterinarian unit was housed adjacent to the military hospital at the Kandahar Air Force Base and we used their CT machine for our dogs,” Lund continues. This experience showed her how veterinary radiologists function within the military and also inspired her to work as a small animal emergency veterinarian, which she did prior to starting her residency at UW.

Another field experience, during her time in Cambodia, nudged Lund further toward diagnostic imaging, when she was asked by the locals to provide ultrasound training. “They were eager to learn and gain experience with newly available technologies,” she notes. “Medical equipment is frequently donated to areas in need, but there are limited training opportunities.”

Lund’s original impetus to join the Army Reserves stemmed from her desire to be of service and, by all counts, these overseas missions accomplished just that. Back in Madison at UW Veterinary Care, Lund is putting to use her years of experience with horses, working dogs, emergency medicine, and teaching. She also continues her military service with the Army Reserve 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion in Green Bay.

“The world is such a giving place, from my employers who supported me during deployment to the people in the field, to the university and school. I’ve noticed that if I just keep adjusting my course, adding skills as I go along, I end up in a place better than I could have imagined — with even more to give back,” she says.

Denise Garlow