Pat Kennedy Arrington is the 2019 Most Admired Woman winner in the Business Owner category. Photo by Melissa Donald
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Pat K. Arrington
Veterinarian and Owner, Jefferson Animal Hospital
Family: Husband Rick and son Adam
Area of town: Fisherville
Pat Kennedy Arrington has been practicing veterinary medicine for 48 years, and while she doesn’t plan to retire anytime soon, she does think about slowing down a bit. However, this doesn’t mean she is finished with goal-setting and achieving. Even if you reach a goal, there is no end to the fine-tuning. She firmly believes she has a responsibility to be the best and set the bar. She credits her husband with the success of Jefferson Animal Hospital and says, “He’s the secret sauce.”
What motivates you?
I am very honored to be a veterinarian. It is the best profession. There were five women in my class of 125 [in veterinary school], and I was just honored with the Auburn Distinguished Alumni Award so I’m very intent on making our profession better and always improving.
What do women bring to the veterinary profession?
Clients are the beneficiaries of more women in the profession. Women explain things; they don’t talk down to people like in the old days. We’re more collaborative with our clients for the betterment of their pets.
Do you consider yourself a role model?
I didn’t, but I do now. I was pathologically shy in high school and very insecure. I realize now when you get your own practice, your own business, you’re forced into that role. Everything that comes out of your mouth is listened to and makes an impression. People watch you and listen to what you say.
What is the best thing about your job?
Helping people. I talk to high school students who want to be vets, and they say “I don’t want to work with people,” and I say, “Guess what? This is a people profession. Those little critters come attached to people.” There has been a tremendous increase in the human-animal bond.
Did you always know that you wanted to be a vet?
I had a wonderful ninth grade civics teacher who made us pick three professions that we wanted to do and made us think about them. I was a science nerd. I knew I wanted to go into science, but I didn’t want to be locked up in a lab. I liked medicine because I wanted to find out what caused disease. Veterinary medicine was an offshoot of my research. From then on, I set my goals.
What makes you lose track of time?
Being in an exam room with a client. I bond with the client, and I don’t look at my watch. Also, watching a good movie or Game of Thrones.
What hobbies do you have?
I am a hooker, a traditional rug hooking person. Everybody loves for me to say that. I belong to the Buffalo Trace rug hookers. We get together periodically and hook together. I hook while I’m watching television. Also gardening. I have a big flower garden, and I love gladiolas.
How many pets do you have?
I’m down to two, one dog and one cat. We lost three this last year. What happens with us is that people bring strays in. That’s a danger of working at an animal hospital.
What is on your bucket list?
I had to cancel a trip to Scotland last year. I’m hoping we’ll go in July or August. Rick and I have been very blessed. We’ve been on a lot of cruises. I love cruises. I haven’t been to Japan or Singapore yet.
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