Adopting a pet brings great joy and excitement to individuals and families, but it also introduces new responsibilities and concerns. Your new family member deserves the same health and safety con ...View Article
DR. SAMUEL B. VAUGHN BS,DVM,ABVP(AVIAN)
Dr. Sam Vaughn learned at the age of ten years old that his life's mission was to help animals. One early spring morning he found a feral cat trying to have kittens in a food bin. It was obvious to Sam that the cat was in trouble, she looked exhausted, had a kitten handing halfway out of the birth canal and made no attempts to run away or even seem aggressive towards Sam. Being such a young kid, having no medical training of any kind he did the only thing he knew to do, ask God for help and pray for what to do!
Then he reached down and ever so slightly began to tug on the little babies' feet hanging out of the mother. Suddenly the mother began to squeeze tightly with her belly trying to deliver this kitten.
That baby was delivered alive and Sam placed the kitten near the mothers' face, whereupon she began to lick the baby removing the afterbirth and membranes so that the baby could breathe on her own.
Sam repeated the process with two more kittens and then stopped, the feral cat actually allowed Sam to feel of her belly gently and he felt no more babies. He very quietly slipped away and came back a few hours to find that mother and kittens were gone! He found them about a week later, in a nice soft bed the mother prepared in the hayloft. Sam continued to bring food and water to the mother who now had all of her strength back. All of the litter survived and the mother did amazingly well.
That was THE DAY, one of those MAGICAL MOMENT'S we have in our lives that dictate our purpose in life. Clearly Dr. Vaughn knew that his mission was to care for and heal all creatures of the non-human variety.
Sam figured that God moved through him to help and deliver those kittens because Sam himself had absolutely no clue about what he was doing.
So from that day forward Sam worked towards going to veterinary school. No one supported Sam's decision, they all wanted him to go to law school like his father and sister had done. Everyone explained to him that it was simply too hard to get into vet school and that he was not smart enough to get in vet school and that if by some miracle he did he would flunk out!
All of these naysayer's or "dreamstealers" as Dr. Vaughn prefers to call them simply made Dr. Vaughn MORE determined to do what he was destined to do, become a veterinarian.
Fast forward to 1980 when Dr. Vaughn graduated from Morehead State University that spring and was accepted to Auburn School of Veterinary Medicine. After freshman year Sam was one of the top ten students in his class. He was offered and accepted a Master's program in Anatomy and Histology. This included a graduate assistantship. It provided a very modest salary yet it provided incredibly more education than the normal four year vet student received. Dr. Vaughn was performing surgeries on everything from dog, cat spays, and neuters and even equine surgeries before his sophomore year in vet school. Most students do not even touch a live animal until their third year of Auburn's Veterinary Program.
Upon graduation "with honors" from Vet School Dr. Vaughn began working as a "mixed animal practitioner". This job allowed him to work with dogs, cats, horses, cows and about anything else you can imagine in the foothills of Appalachia in Morehead, Kentucky. This job did not last long because the economics of being a large animal doctor prevented Dr. Vaughn from practicing medicine and surgery at a level acceptable to Dr. Vaughn. Many times in those rural areas a farmer could not spend the money to save a cow which could have been sold at the slaughter house for less than the veterinary fee Dr. Vaughn was going to have to charge to save the animal's life. Dr. Vaughn did not want to throw away the excellent surgical and medical skills he had learned at Auburn University.
Therefore Dr. Vaughn accepted a job in Madisonville, Ky. that was only small animal practice. Since pets are family members to most good pet owner's families, they would spend money to take care of their precious pets. Thus Dr. Vaughn could now practice the type of medical and surgical skills that he had dreamed about since age ten. Dr. Vaughn remained in that practice for nearly two years then he moved to Louisville. Dr. Vaughn secured a nice job in Louisville and has been in Louisville since about 1988.
Shortly after moving to Louisville Dr. Vaughn was relatively satisfied with his professional situation, yet he wanted still more in his work. He decided to look into bird and exotic medicine. After a brief internship with Dr. Susan Clubb of Loxahatchee Florida Dr. Vaughn was blessed with the ability to be a volunteer vet with the Louisville Zoo under the watchful eye of his new mentor, Dr. Bill Foster. After 12-18 months of training with Dr. Foster Dr. Vaughn was blessed again! Dr. Foster had a "moonlight" practice away from the Zoo allowing him to raise more money to feed his fast growing family. Dr. Vaughn accepted Dr. Foster's offer of turning all of Dr. Foster's clients over to Dr. Vaughn!
Humbly accepting Dr. Foster's selfless offer Dr. Vaughn said to Dr. Foster that he did not feel like he knew enough to start seeing birds on his own. Dr. Foster corrected Dr. Vaughn and said that he already knew more than himself about birds because Dr. Vaughn had been focusing so adeptly at avian medicine and surgery. Dr. Foster told Dr. Vaughn to not be scared and that all he needed to do was accept these client's and that those client's would bring to his hospital more bird patients than he ever would have expected.
Dr. Foster was correct! Dr. Vaughn began seeing more and more bird patients and began studying even harder than ever about these magnificent creatures that have the ability to fly!
To end this story, Dr. Vaughn is one of only sixty-plus individuals who are now considered bird (avian) specialists. This specialty status was achieved by proving you had seen more than 5 birds weekly for 5 years. Dr. Vaughn's numbers satisfied that goal easily. Then he had to write two scientific articles acceptable for publication. Dr. Vaughn achieved that goal. The next hoop to jump through was the American Board of Veterinary Practitioner's examination for Avian (Diplomats'). Dr. Vaughn was one of about 20 other veterinarians in the United States. Dr. Vaughn passed the exam and is now the only avian specialist in Kentucky, and has been since 1995.
Dr. Vaughn first love was of course dogs and cats and he cannot even think of practicing without his dog and cat clients. They remain 75-85% of Dr. Vaughn's clients. The other 10-15% of Dr. Vaughn's practice today is birds and most any exotic creature kept as pets. Dr. Vaughn has nine dogs at home, 2 horses and 3 ponies.
Through many changes in Dr. Vaughn's career he finally purchased his own practice, now known as VETERINARY ASSOCIATES-STONEFIELD. That purchase was in 1991 and Dr. Vaughn remains in that location today. Most of our clients and referring doctors simply refer to us as "STONEFIELD" Dr. Vaughn sees patients from his Louisville, KY practice and he welcomes referrals. Some of these referral clients travel six hours to get into see the "Birdman of Kentucky".
Dr. Vaughn considers himself a very fortunate individual for he has a job that he loves tremendously and he still gets goose-bumps when he saves an animal, particularly when one of those patients were so far gone that not even he himself would have survived.
For 28 years now Dr. Vaughn gets up and goes to work knowing it will be another DIFFERENT DAY. One minute he may be trying to save a puppy from parvovirus and the next working on a severely injured bird of some type.
Dr. Vaughn is under contract with the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Department as well as the Indiana Department of Fish and Game. Nothing is as spiritually fulfilling to Dr. Vaughn than to work with an injured Bald Eagle or Snowy Owl and getting to go to the release of that animal back into the wild. The ability to work with Eagles brings Dr. Vaughn more satisfaction working with raptors and watching them fly away as a result of his and his hospitals team compassionate care and expert medicine and surgery..
Dr. Vaughn also has long been a contributor, not only the animals he sees, but to his community as well. This was made a public fact when Dr. Vaughn received the DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD by the Kentucky Veterinary Medical Association in 2010. The award, voted upon by more than 2,000 practicing veterinarians in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. There are excessively many awards and commendations to list here however, you can visit his website, www.vetcity.com, for an up to date Curriculum Vitae should you be interested.
Contact Dr. Sam Vaughn
Veterinary Associates Stonefield | 502-245-7863
203 Moser Road
Louisville, KY 40223
E-Mail : firstname.lastname@example.org