Trustee Spotlight: Mark Sheets, DVM

2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation (TVMF). Over the past 40 years, TVMF has expanded its programs to include more ways to serve the veterinary community and the pet-owning public. Many of these programs, like the TVMF PALS program, which is a partnership with Meals on Wheels (MOW) that provides veterinary care free of charge to the pets of homebound seniors, would not be possible without the dedication and support of our TVMF trustees.

One TVMF trustee, Mark Sheets, DVM, also is celebrating a 40th anniversary this year. Dr. Sheets graduated from Purdue University’s veterinary school in 1978, the same year that TVMF was founded, and moved to Texas shortly after graduation. Growing up in Indiana, Dr. Sheets knew from an early age that he wanted to be a veterinarian.

“I saw the importance of their work with our stock growing up and the respect they earned,” Dr. Sheets said. “During school, I traveled with an ambulatory vet and loved it.”

Though he initially planned to focus on equine medicine, Dr. Sheets made the switch to small animal medicine during his final year at Purdue. His first job was at the Animal Medical and Surgical Hospital in Irving,Texas, where he practiced for 20 years. In 2000, Dr. Sheets purchased The Animal Clinic of Grand Prairie, where he has grown the practice to include a new, state-of-the-art facility with four veterinarians.

Dr. Sheets first became involved with TVMF when he was contacted by TVMF Director Leah Ann Tibbitts about becoming a TVMF PALS veterinarian when the program was first expanding into Dallas. Shortly after, Dr. Sheets was asked to join the TVMF Board of Trustees. When asked why he wanted to be part of the Board of Trustees, Dr. Sheets replied, “I loved TVMF’s mission and felt it was time for me to give back. If I was going to commit, I did not want it to be a casual deal.”

Since joining the Board ofTrustees, Dr. Sheets has been inspired by the passion and energy he has seen from his fellow trustees and volunteers for TVMF programs.

“If TVMA is our brain, TVMF is our heart,” Dr. Sheets said. “We are ambassadors for our profession and a resource for pet owners, especially those in need.”

Dr. Sheets feels especially connected to the senior citizens served through the TVMF PALS program. As the number of senior and homebound pet owners increases, the work of this partnership between TVMF and MOW is becoming increasingly important. Speaking of his own experience with the TVMF PALS program, Dr. Sheets believes the program is truly changing lives.

“I saw firsthand how despair can be turned into elation for someone who thought they were looking at euthanasia for their cat when something as simple as managing a mouth full of abscessed teeth turned her and her pet’s lives around,” he said.

TVMF was honored to welcome Dr. Sheets to the Board ofTrustees in 2017. As we continue celebrating our 40th anniversary in 2018, we are so thankful for the dedication and support of Dr. Sheets and all of our Trustees, past and present, who have enabled us to accomplish so much.