Steven's Open Road


    Doctoral Roadtrip


Founder / Director of Veterinary Care
Hohenwald Animal Hospital/Tennessee Elephant Sanctuary

“You want to be bold, but not stupid...that’s how you get your name on a plaque.”


Medicine Environment & Nature


Doubt Passion Dedication Success Hard Work Choices Beliefs & Faith Character


Learning / Being Challenged


  • Born and raised in Tennessee.
  • Grew up on a cattle farm in Maury County, and says he never thought he would be a veterinarian: “It seemed like a far away dream.”
  • After graduating from the University of Tennessee in 1981, he decided to move to the small town of Hohenwald to set up his veterinary practice—said he felt like he belonged there.
  • Affectionately nicknamed “Doc,” he treats every kind of animal; says, “I hate human conflict, but I will take on any animal, at any time.”
  • Got involved with the Tennessee Elephant Sanctuary in 1995—the sanctuary is a refuge for “retired” elephants, mostly from circuses and zoos, who are battling health and behavioral issues.
  • For about 20 years, he was one of only three vets in an area the size of Rhode Island—says that experience has prepared him for anything and made him highly adaptable.
  • Admits that he suffered from imposter syndrome while pursuing his doctorate—”I didn’t know if I was as smart as everyone else, but I knew I could outwork them.”
  • Says that success isn’t about the money, “it’s about feeling good about what you are doing and believing in your mission.”

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