Growing up in the Pelham suburb of New York City, with no livestock in sight, Dr. David Jefferson dreamed of operating his own dairy farm. Summers spent on farms made him appreciate farm life and the cows. He loved everything about the dairy business and imagined himself enjoying a full life as a farmer. Happily for those whose horses were Dr. J.’s patients for 50+ years, the dairy farmer dream never came true! He clicked with horses during his time at Cornell’s veterinary school, and they became his career. He did manage a dairy farm for a few months and soon realized that horses don’t require twice-daily milking. Now retired from his successful vet practice, Dr. Jefferson gives generously of his time and expertise as a member of the MSSPA’s Board of Directors – when he’s not penning a new book about his time working as an equine vet.
Dr. J. recently released his latest book, Goodbye Old Friend: The Euthanasia of Your Horse. The book addresses the whys, hows, and emotions of equine euthanasia. Part of the veterinarian profession is putting animals down. There are many conditions in horses in which this becomes the right decision. This book helps answer questions about when that time is, how to prepare for it, and how to deal with all the emotions around equine euthanasia. MSSPA hosted Dr. J. in the indoor arena as he sat down with News Center Maine’s Peg Keyser for an interview for 207 about the book.
The Society is grateful for Dr. J.’s consistent and varied support. He is a regular donor who also encourages others to help the MSSPA however they can. When asked, “Why do you give to the Society and its horses?” he enthusiastically responds, “Because I really believe in the rehabilitation and rehoming of the animals. I appreciate the life-saving work being done at River Road Farm.” When he began working as a vet with the Society in the late 1970s, there were few options for abused or neglected horses. Since retirement, he has helped the MSSPA to develop collaborations throughout the horse community that help the Society facilitate successful recoveries and satisfying adoption outcomes. Above all, Dr. J. respects the work of the staff and volunteers who, like himself, give time, money, and love to horses. “I value being a volunteer and supporter of this organization. Horses changed my life. At MSSPA, I can continue to help change theirs for the better.”