Meet O Mag Insider – Deborah Ross!

Age: I am 59 years young.

Occupation: I have been a full-time small animal veterinarian for over 34 years.

What did you want to be when you were a little girl?

When I was a little girl I vacillated between being an elementary teacher, like my mother and grandmother, or a physician like my dad. My love of animals, which are like kids anyway, and medicine led me to my career.

What are some different jobs you’ve had in your life?

Some of my brothers and sisters are quite a bit younger than me, so babysitting was my first job. We had thoroughbred race horses when I was in high school so I cared for them, in addition to waitressing at a family restaurant by day and being a cocktail waitress by night. One summer I held a job at a health clinic as a lab technician. My task was to stain and evaluate slides to diagnose if a patient had venereal disease.

What do you work toward in your spare time?

I work toward spending quality time with my 2 children (daughter 16 and son 24) when I am home. I missed out on a lot of things during their childhood because of my career. Both of my children were born by c-section and I was back at work full-time 2 weeks after my son was born and 6 weeks after my daughter was born (which was glorious time off I must say; I relished every second at home). For myself, personal time is spent reading and trying to stay mentally and physically fit.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

I am definitely a morning person. Sleeping in to me is waking up at 7:00 AM, and I am usually falling asleep by 9:30PM.

What are you most proud of?

Besides being a mother and having a killer work ethic, I am most proud of my Second Degree Black Belt in Martial Arts, as well as becoming a Martial Arts Instructor. It took 9 years of blood, sweat, and tears to earn that.

What are you known for?

I’d have to say I am most known for my genuine dedication to my clients and their furry family members. My rapport with my client family is unique, and I am honored to be their pet’s medical caregiver. I am most proud and humbled to be there for them when a decision has to be made in regards to quality of life. I am blessed to be able to help them pass with peace and dignity. On a personal note, I am well known for my love of wine!

What inspires you?

My dad inspires me. He enjoyed every day of his long career in OBGYN, never complained about all of the middle of the night deliveries, and he treated his patients like family members. My patients also inspire me, as they treat each day with renewed vigor, hold no grudges, make no judgements, and they live solely in the present.

Tell me something about you that most people don’t know.

Most people do not know that I used to exercise Thoroughbred racehorses and even trained some 2- year olds to break out of the starting gate when I was in high school and college. Another lesser known fact is that I come from an avid hunting family and have done my fair share of that myself in the past.

Why did you apply to be an O Mag Insider?

I applied to become an O Mag Insider because I have always enjoyed reading O Magazine because it has depth and probes different and controversial topics. I saw in this magazine the genuine desire to help people be the best they can be without using others as a guideline for who to be and how to act. I knew that I did not have the social media prowess nor time to dedicate to social media, but I knew I could offer hard work, genuine insight, and honesty to whatever would come my way. I have to say it was the best “shock” of all time to have been offered to be a brand ambassador for O Magazine.

How do you live your best life?

I started to live my best life, ironically, after the suicide of one of my younger sisters, Heidi, in 1999. Nothing shakes a person more than the sudden and unexpected death of a family member. My struggle with coming to terms with all the things left unsaid, as well as the devastating and life-uprooting it caused my family, forever changed me. I never hesitate to offer help or a kind word to anyone. I have much more empathy for people’s struggles now. I enjoy doing little things like buying someone’s food or coffee when they are in the drive through behind me. I also donate thousands of dollars of medical care to clients who cannot afford it. I know the importance of the human/animal bond. Through this family tragedy, I learned that each day is truly a divine gift not to be taken for granted.

What are you reading now?

I am currently reading The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson.

What’s a day in your life like?

My average day starts with wake up at 6AM, feed my 6 (yes 6) cats, wake my daughter up for school, and help get her off to the bus stop. I then check email and social media, read veterinary medical articles, and then get ready for work. I am the only veterinarian at my practice, so work starts at 8AM for me. I see clients with healthy, sick, and injured pets; perform surgeries on Fridays; and usually finish with my last appointment at about 6:30PM. I then try to get caught up on writing in charts and taking care of loose ends. Dinner for us is either something I can make in about 30 minutes or something that I put in the crockpot that morning. Dinner is hopefully done by 8 PM, so I can assist with homework if need be, sit down for a bit to relax before heading to bed at 9:30. Fortunately, I have a housekeeper who comes in once a week, so I can spend my weekend with errands, grocery shopping, bill paying, and carving out some family time to shop, visit the infamous Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA (which is literally across the street from my home), see a movie, go biking, or just sit out on my deck and listen to music while playing cards with my daughter.

 

This is part of an ongoing series, introducing you to the dynamic individuals who make up O, The Oprah Magazine’s Brand Ambassadors known as the O Mag Insiders. For more information on the program or to apply, click HERE.

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