Oklahoma vet encourages young readers to embrace rural practice
Dr. Rebekah Hartfield’s first book is “Rosie the Pig.”
Rebekah Hartfield, DVM, is doing her part, one book at a time, to bring more veterinary care to underserved rural areas.
The 2016 Oklahoma State University graduate, who works as a mixed-animal practitioner in Cushing, Oklahoma, has published the first of six titles in what she calls The Doctor Hartfield Veterinary Book Series.
The children’s books, which kicked off in July with “Rosie the Pig,” focus on a farm girl named Abby who joins another character, Dr. H., in the examination, diagnosis and treatment of large animals.
Dr. Hartfield hopes that children exposed to the books, which come with quizzes and games, will think about becoming veterinarians one day, and perhaps working with farm animals.
“Unfortunately, few kids have access to the ranch animals I grew up with [in Bridgeport, Texas],” she said. “But every child does have access to books, and with my book series, I hope to at least spark an interest that will encourage more kids to consider rural veterinary care.”
About 75 percent of all U.S. veterinarians in clinical practice work exclusively or predominantly with companion animals, according to 2016 statistics from the American Veterinary Medical Association.
The books, illustrated by Sarah Haug, are available for purchase at www.doctorhartfield.com and at Cushing Veterinary Clinic.
Dr. Hartfield needs only look outside her house to see large animals. Living on her ranch are a pig, two bulls, eight horses and 30 cows, along with three cats and 20 dogs.
“I didn’t just want to write about cats and dogs,” she said. “I wanted to share real stories from my own farm.”
The second book, “Pistol the Horse,” is scheduled for publication in mid-2018.