Going to College on the Black Angus Plan

Dana Hoyt’s college fund didn’t grow in the bank. It grew in the pasture.

“My parents gave me my first cow when I was eight,” she says. Eventually, young Dana had a herd of 35 beef cattle, which she raised on the family farm in Klamath Falls. Tuition for her undergraduate education in animal science and agricultural business management was thereby assured.

But it wasn’t until she had spent seven years as a veterinary technician that Hoyt decided to return to school to earn her DVM. Now 34, she aspires to a practice in small-animal medicine, specializing in cancer care. It was her late Rottweiler, Astro, who spurred her interest in veterinary oncology. “He got lymphoma,” she says. “The chemotherapy he received extended his life by two years before we had to put him down.”

Hoyt — whose working style is a straight-ahead efficiency punctuated with well-timed wisecracks — softens visibly when she talks about her own menagerie: a cattle dog named Joe, a “mutt dog” named Greg, and a feline duo dubbed Billy and Dharma. The objectivity she brings to her work enters into her personal pet relationships not at all. In a burst of affectionate hyperbole, she insists: “Joe is the cutest dog in the world.”

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