Jerry Ranson rings in stardom with testimonials about...


August 04, 1991|By Mary Corey

Jerry Ranson rings in stardom with testimonials about AT&T

2 "It's back to the real world for me," he says. Poison-dart frogs, says Dr. Brent Whitaker, make pesky patients.

As the director of medicine for the National Aquarium and its new Animal Care and Research Complex, he should know. It's his job, after all, to make house calls (or tank calls) on about 5,000 animals -- from an octopus needing vitamin C for an eye condition to a dime-size frog needing surgical superglue for an abrasion on his snout.

"When I come to work, I never know how my day is going to go," the 33-year-old veterinarian says with a laugh.

Dr. Whitaker fell in love with animals as a child growing up in Bethesda. He regularly spent afternoons at a neighborhood creek, freeing salamanders, fish and spiders from the murky depths. One of his goals since joining the staff two years ago has been to upgrade a program for veterinary students interested in aquatic animals.

Over the years, he and his wife Becky have amassed their own animal kingdom -- tending to roughly 10 birds and two dogs in their Owings Mills home. Even the couple's infant daughter, Marinda, shows signs of being an animal lover.

"She loves to feed the cocker spaniels from her highchair," he says.

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