IF ALL the kids who ever dreamed of becoming veterinarians actually ended up with their degrees, there would be almost as many pet doctors in the world as there are dogs and cats.
But it's as hard to earn a veterinarian degree as it is a medical degree. And with just 25 veterinary schools in the country, openings for students are scarce.
The result is that most animal lovers settle for different occupations, satisfied to commune with dogs and cats after work.
Susan Brennan wouldn't settle.
Growing up in Severna Park, she knew from the time she was 10 that she wanted animals to be her life's work.
"A neighbor's dog had puppies, and they could never find me because I was always down there playing with those puppies," she recalled. "I was fascinated with them."
Brennan graduated from Severna Park High School in 1985, completed undergraduate studies at Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Blacksburg, Va., and stayed on to earn her degree in veterinary medicine.
"It's not easy going to school when everybody else is out having fun and you've got to be studying," she said.
"It really helped that my parents were always supportive," she said of Donald and Marianne Brennan of Severna Park. "They always encouraged me."
She started out working in clinics in Towson and Alexandria, Va.
In July, she took over a practice at the Animal Clinic of Southgate on Hospital Drive near North Arundel Hospital.
"Buying my own practice is the smartest thing I've ever done, and the hardest," said the 31-year-old doctor. She works 12-hour days and has weekend duty.
It takes Brennan and five assistants to keep her practice running smoothly.
"You don't learn anything about running a business in vet school," she said.
"But I know that the harder I work, the more successful I'll be." She plans to hire another veterinarian in the near future.
After a long day at the office handling other people's pets, Brennan is greeted by her golden retriever at home.
Your snow, my snow
With the autumn's Miami-style weather a memory, here's what you need to know about snow:
The Department of Public Works, the Bureau of Highways and the parks department remove snow from county-owned roads.
The piles of snow that accumulate at the end of a driveway or walkway and on the sidewalk are the resident's responsibility.
For more information, call 410-222-6120.
Pub Date: 12/31/98