Katrina McGinnis

Membership Officer, California, USA

Katrina with Hector and Hannah

My chosen career is nursing. I graduated from my first nursing program in 1978 with an Associate in Nursing. I followed that in 1982 with a Bachelor in Nursing, and in 1996 with a Masters in Nursing Management. But, not happy with management, I went back to school for a second Masters in Nursing and a Family Nurse Practitioner Certificate. I have been working in the hospital environment since 1978. Over half of my nursing career has been in pediatrics and rehabilitation. My current job has me case managing (as both a Care Coordinator and Nurse Practitioner) children with cerebral palsy and children with spinal cord injury.

My father was military, so I have lived in multiple states, including California, Texas, Tennessee, and Alaska. My Associate in Nursing was achieved at a college in Texas, while the other degrees were all achieved in California, where I now reside. I married in 1983 and my only child, Sean was born in 1988. He just turned 18 in May, so I am now the mother of an adult.

My furred and not so furred family:

As far back as I can remember we have had dogs in our lives. My first dog was a mutt named Snoopy. She was a year older than me, and my mom tells me that initially Snoopy was insanely jealous of me, but then we became best buddies. I remember sharing many a bowl of Purina Dog Chow with Snoopy.

After that, there were pets of all species that shared my room or my bed, including dogs, cats, mice, hamsters, birds, turtles and fish. But the primary pets I have shared my life with have been dogs and cats. There was a period of time in high school when, for a short semester; I decided that I wanted to be a veterinarian rather than the nurse I had been aiming for since I was three years old (at least that's what my mom tells me). But my father talked me out of it because he felt that veterinary work was not "women's work," and as "women's lib" was just hitting the scene, I listened to him. After all he was a Chief Petty Officer in the Navy and pretty authoritarian. Don't worry, I long ago forgave him and we are good friends.

We adopted Hector, a deaf English Pointer, from a local shelter about a week after my son's Boxer Nathan had died. Sean made the decision to adopt from the shelter vs. purchasing another AKC registerable Boxer. We saw Hector (named Oreo by the shelter staff), but didn't select him right away. However, by the time we left the shelter that day, Sean had decided on Hector. His decision was based, in part, on the fact that the animal behaviorist talking with us mentioned that Hector might be deaf. Neither Sean nor I realized that dogs could be deaf, but when told of the possibility, Sean decided to take Hector home because "he won't be as easily adopted if people know he's deaf." Hector was estimated to be about 8 months old at the time, and he is now almost three. Life has been interesting with Hector. He has presented us with some challenges that I have never dealt with in a dog. But upon researching his breed, it became evident that most of these challenges can be attributed to his breed, not his deafness. He has settled in nicely with his human and canine family, and we love him dearly. Currently, Hector shares his life with Andy (an 8 year old Spaniel/Rottweiler Mix), Hannah (a 3 year old German Shepherd dog), Precious (a 6 year old tortioseshell domestic short haired cat), Sonya (a 5 year old Siamese Mix) and various birds and reptiles.