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Tory Yont. Submitted photo.

Yont’s younger self had it figured out

Tory Yont can think of no better place to grow up than the southern Saskatchewan farming community of Langenburg whose residents supported her in everything that she did.

From a young age, she was fully immersed in chores on the family farm where they raised American quarter horses and a few head of cattle along with the family dogs and cats.

“Whether it was bottle feeding calves or catching horses out on the pasture, I was always right alongside my dad helping as much as I could, no matter how grueling a task might have been,” says Yont, a first-year veterinary student at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM).

“I always enjoyed getting dirty and being outdoors.”

Yont was always interested in watching the veterinarians when they came to the farm to deal with injuries or calving problems, and from the time she was little, she told people she was going to be a veterinarian.

It turns out that Yont’s younger self had it figured out. As she grew older, Yont realized that veterinary medicine really was an ideal career for her since it brought together all of her interests: science, animals, medicine and people.

Yont attended the University of Saskatchewan (USask) where she completed a Bachelor of Science in Animal Bioscience degree followed by a fifth year of studies in toxicology — a chance to learn all she could about toxins that are harmful to animals, people and the environment.   

During her undergraduate years, Yont joined the USask Pre-Veterinary Club and volunteered at the Veterinary Medical Centre’s Small Animal Clinic. She also job shadowed several veterinarians, including Dr. Kent Weir (WCVM ’07) at Weir Veterinary Services in Lloydminster, Sask.

During the summers, she returned home to work at Langenburg’s Prairie East Veterinary Clinic – an opportunity to gain a better understanding of life in a rural clinic while working with a helpful, supportive staff. Yont enjoyed learning about vaccinations, treatments and different surgeries and relished the chances to go on farm calls. She especially appreciated the help she received from Dr. Audrey Tataryn (WCVM ’03).

“No matter how busy she [Dr. Tataryn] was, she’d take time to explain a case to me or teach me something new,” says Yont. “She would take me on farm calls or ask me to scrub in with her, and she allowed me to get real hands-on experiences. I cannot thank her enough.”

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Submitted photo.

Although Yont was focused on her studies at USask, she made sure she spent time doing other activities. Since she’d always enjoyed working with kids, she was happy to take a break from books to teach some of the sports she’d loved so much while she was growing up.

She coached tumbling to a group of children whose ages ranged from 15 months to four years old and thoroughly enjoyed the experience — the things the kids said, the 110 per cent effort they put into everything they did and the progress they made while she was coaching them.

Yont also coached an U14 volleyball girls’ team — a completely different experience that was just as satisfying for her.

“Watching a group of girls who didn’t know each other work together toward a common goal was amazing to see,” says Yont. “Each girl brought something different to the team, and by the end of the season, they each had improved so much.”

Yont hopes to continue coaching in the Saskatoon community and in whatever community she calls home after she completes her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree program at the WCVM in 2023.

Since she started classes at the WCVM in August, Yont has enjoyed anatomy class as well as the hands-on animal labs in their animal management and production class. She’s also welcomed the opportunities and events that have enabled her and her classmates to work together and get to know each other.

“I am really looking forward to being part of a big community at WCVM,” says Yont. “All the opportunities that arise: from being a vet student to social events to volunteer experiences and clubs. I can’t wait to navigate vet school with my classmates and future colleagues.”

While Yont’s future plans include volunteering as a veterinarian in less fortunate communities in Canada and abroad, she also envisions having a career and raising a family in a rural community like the one where she grew up.

“After working in a rural clinic, I realize how much rural communities in Saskatchewan are in dire need for mixed animal practitioners,” says Yont. “Since I love small towns and have a passion for both small and large animals, I see myself [practising] in a rural mixed animal clinic.”

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