Profile: Dr. Phil Bushby
Many know Dr. Phil Bushby for his different roles in MSU's College of Veterinary Medicine. Teacher, administrator, and overseer of the "Bushby Bus," (a name his students fondly call the Mobile Veterinary Unit) are among his titles. If thousands of animals could give him a title, it would be "life saver."
Bushby's father raised pure-bred Dalmatian puppies in a day when people ordered dogs from the Spiegel catalog. He was a supplier, and when a puppy wasn't doing well, he'd give young Phil caretaking responsibility. Once the dog improved, Phil earned half the money from the pup's sale.
"That was the seed that got it going," Bushby said of his love of caring for animals.
During formal training at the University of Illinois, Bushby fell in love with surgery and set a goal of becoming board certified. During a post-graduate internship, he discovered another veterinary issue that would shape his career.
"During my one-year internship with the ASPCA, which ran animal control for New York City, 132,000 dogs and cats were euthanized in that one city. In a five-day work week, that's 500 animals a day—that number never left me," Bushby said.
While he continued to pursue surgery, his interest in a niche area led him to seek an academic environment, and in 1978 he became the 17th faculty member in MSU's young College of Veterinary Medicine. He said he has changed careers within CVM three times during his 34-year tenure. Initially, he was a referral level surgeon before moving into an administrative role for 18 years. Then he returned to the college's clinic to work with students in the community veterinary services program.
Even as an administrator, Bushby regularly took students to area animal shelters to perform spay and neuter surgeries. In 2007, with the acquisition of the Mobile Veterinary Unit, the shelter program expanded. Students and faculty now travel to 16 North Mississippi shelters, averaging 30 surgeries a day.
"There are two huge reasons we do this. First, it's a great experience for the students and helps them develop surgical skills; and second, we want our graduates to understand the level of the over-population problem, because approximately 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters each year," Bushby said.
He explained that the spay and neuter program literally saves lives because animals are more likely to be adopted and because it prevents continued overpopulation.
Next week … Holly Wiley !