Mary Carlson didn't start out to become a veterinarian, let alone the owner and caretaker of cats (many), dogs (two, both huskies), and horses (some with manners, some without) in Colorado. She was a suburban Chicago girl; all she knew of the American West came from the stories her uncle, who had settled in northern Colorado, told her during his annual visits. But thanks to him, she ended up moving to Fort Collins, Colorado for college—and after falling in love with a man she'd become friends with in her final year of college, when he was a student at the CSU School of Veterinary Medicine, she remained there.
Watching the work Earl did as a veterinarian inspired Mary to eventually leave her tenured teaching position and enter vet school, after which she opened her own, feline-exclusive clinic. Along the way, there were numerous pets, grueling years of vet school, a shattered hip, an enduring love, illness, and death—and the rediscovery that life, especially a life full of delightful animals, is worth living.