Love of animals leads Annie to career as a vet assistant
By Sandy Bond
Annie Maciejewski was a vision in white, as she and Rason Walker were united forever in marriage. But when Annie wed Rason, a fourth-generation farmer and rancher, West River got blasted with an autumn blizzard on Oct. 5. Just across the river to the east, there was only a dusting.
“It was a small wedding anyway,” Annie said, “So most of the guests were able to come. But it certainly was memorable!”
The daughter of Edward and Mary Jo Maciejewski, Annie and her siblings, John, 32, and Jami, 29, grew up on the ranch six miles from Timber Lake surrounded by animals and have always loved them.
“As a kid I spent countless hours outside with my dogs and horses,” she said. “I started working part-time at Oahe Veterinary Hospital in July 2007, while I was in high school. I worked over summer vacations, Christmas breaks, etc. That’s when I decided to become a veterinary technician”
After graduating from Timber Lake High School she attended Northern State University at Aberdeen before transferring to Eastern Wyoming College at Torrington, Wyo., where she graduated with an associate degree of applied science. She was also taking business classes online from Northern State University.
“I then started back full-time in May 2011. My husband and I met on the Fourth of July and started talking a lot while we were still in college. I chased him around four years until he decided to date me,” she said. “We got engaged on the Fourth of July 2013 and married Oct. 5, during the Atlas storm. We plan on farming and ranching in the McLaughlin and McIntosh area in the future. Now we are living in Mobridge until we get a house on a ranch.”
In the spring of 2012, a small mixed breed mamma dog very pregnant with puppies was brought in to Oahe Vet as a stray. As a city pound only taking in animals found by the city police, it serves as a shelter and tries to find homes for those animals. Each and every one of the pups was adopted, leaving mamma dog alone, but not for long. Annie adopted Mama Dog.
“She is a huge blessing to us,” she said.
Standing Rock Game and Fish gave a baby deer to Annie.
“He was about a day old and had been picked up along the road by people driving by with no idea what happened to Mom,” she said. “The people surrendered him to Game and Fish and they called Oahe Vet where I as working at the time and asked if any of us would want him. I named him Oscar. He rode to work with me in a dog kennel and then when he got bigger he just lay down in the back seat like a dog riding back and forth. I would bring him home at night. I was bottle feeding about every five hours.”
Once he got big enough she let him stay at the vet clinic all the time, roaming around outside. Once people started seeing him crossing the road frequently, Maciejewski ear tagged him and took him to her dad’s ranch near Timber Lake, she said.
“He found a family of deer and I haven’t been able to get close to him since. But I think If I got him to myself he would still let me come up to him I also have a grown mule deer that lives on my dad’s farm. He was raised by Bill and Laurie Bickel and walked across a county road and lives with my dad’s horses. He still comes up to me and he is about four years old now.”
Annie went to work at New Horizons Veterinary Service for husband and wife Don and Megan Ernst and their daughter Evie, 6, and Sam 3, when they opened up in 2012. It is located five and a half miles north of Glenham. The clinic has state-of-the-art equipment, from an operating table for dogs and cats in the surgical suite, hydraulic chutes for cattle, X-ray equipment and an autoclave for sterilizing surgical equipment. And if you can’t make it to the clinic, a fully equipped mobile facility will come to the farm to treat large animals.
“I started at Oahe Vet when I was 17, and then ended my employment in October. It was time for a change,” she said. “I had just gotten married and was looking for no weekends and no on call. I saw many neat things, and I learned a lot there.”