Fred Hudson| Photo Courtesy
After 27 years of working in the veterinary field, Dr. Neil Dyer, the University Attending Veterinarian, received the “2018 North Dakota Veterinarian of the Year” award from North Dakota Veterinary Medical Association (NDVMA) during the annual meeting this August.
The award is used “to recognize the time and efforts by its members, above and beyond that of normal participation, for the good of the Association and/or profession,” as defined by NDVMA.
Dyer started as a volunteer at a zoo, which led to his interest in animals. “I stayed at the zoo for a while, but I eventually was a little bit frustrated by seeing animals get sick or die and not know what was going on or not being able to do anything about it, so that’s sort of what drove me to veterinary medicine,” Dyer said.
Dyer has been a part of the North Dakota State community since earning his undergraduate degree in zoology. He then graduated with a degree in veterinary medicine from Iowa State University in 1991. He worked as a veterinarian at Midway Vet Clinic in Bismarck before going back to graduate school. Since then he has worked as the director of the diagnostic lab at NDSU for 20 years until stepping down in 2016.
“For me, the community has always been up here at NDSU with students who were interested in veterinary medicine or veterinarians out in the state of North Dakota or western Minnesota that call me with questions or comments, so that’s sort of how I’ve stayed plugged into the veterinary community,” Dyer said. “My connections have always been one way or another through NDSU.”
Through his efforts to be above and beyond the typical veterinarian, Dyer has had multiple opportunities to interact with other doctors throughout the North Dakota community.
“When I worked in the diagnostic lab for 20 plus years I had a chance to interact with a lot of the vets around the state who had sent samples in to be analyzed, and so I just got to know a lot of people,” Dyer shared.
Dyer continued to explain how the North Dakota veterinary community is not large, so every veterinarian tends to know one another, which increases their connections.
Dyer explained this was his first big award and described it as a huge achievement in his career.
The night of the award is when he found out he was even nominated because the committee keeps everything secret and even sneaks in the recipient’s family to witness their achievement without them knowing.
“It was great. It’s always nice to have people that you’ve worked with all your life recognize you and say thanks and give you some accolade for what you’ve been trying to do,” Dyer explained.
Although the award was a huge achievement, Dyer explained his gratitude toward being able to impact students during his career. He explained how he has worked with a lot of students that have wanted to be veterinarians and that it allows him to be involved in the pre-vet process and increase his connections to more people.
“The biggest award for me is in the audience,” Dyer said. “The night I got the award, there were a lot of the students who are now veterinarians that I had been able to work with when they were undergrads here (NDSU). You’ve been involved in helping them make a career choice; seeing them be successful is kind of a nice thing.”
Dyer has had multiple positions on the NDVMA board of directors and has been an active member to many different veterinary medicine associations.
When asked for advice for future and current people working within the veterinary medicine field, he explained, “Veterinary medicine is a very broad field. There are a lot of different things you can do in veterinary medicine so people who want to be involved in animal health should explore, see what fits and don’t be afraid to take advantage of opportunities that come up because as you move along in your career all kinds of things will pop up that you never thought about.”
Throughout Dyer’s career there were many opportunities that he never saw coming and referenced as experiences that would not happen if he did not embrace the things that came to him.
During his schooling he was able to study abroad three times in Mongolia and multiple times in Bolivia. Through these trips he was able to gain experiences and meet more people in the veterinary medicine field that he would not have without allowing himself to take a chance.
“I got to meet some wonderful people and go some great places; I guess you kind of just embrace those things as they happen and let them kind of carry you along,” Dyer explained.
These opportunities have led him through his career, and his connections have led him to this award to separate him from the rest of the veterinarians and show that he is above and beyond within the community.
“It was a wonderful night. It was a great honor, and I know the people who have received the award in the past, I’m friends with a lot of them, so it’s fun to be a part of that group,” Dyer smiled.