In one congressional office, there could be a dog standing on a table at any given time. Veterinarian-turned-politician Rep. Ted Yoho’s extracurricular from his day job is consulting for his colleagues on their pets.
“When I came up here, there was a freshman that came in with me,” said the representative from Florida's 3rd District. "He was telling me, ‘Hey, my wife had to take my cat to the vet and they did a sex change operation on it. What do they do that for?’”
Yoho explained that the cat had an urethrostomy and recalled, “He goes, ‘You know, everybody likes their vet. In fact, I know the name of my wife’s vet but I don’t know the name of her gynecologist.’”
There’s also the occasional hands-on consultation. Roughly a dozen staffers have brought their pets into Yoho’s office.
A staffer in a neighboring office brought a dog named Winston in February. Last May, miniature horses from Therapy Horses of Gentle Carousel, based in Florida, stopped by the office for a checkup.
Yoho's colleagues in the House will call or send photographs seeking his advice. “We get [members] who say, ‘Hey, what kind of dog is this we’re looking to adopt?’ You’ll give them your recommendation or what you think the breed is,” he said.
On-the-spot consultations are nothing new for the Floridian. “I’ve removed legs from dogs on the bed of my truck on the farm,” he said. Yoho received his veterinary degree from the University of Florida in 1983 and has worked primarily with large animals.
“I liked animals better than people,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons I wanted to be a vet, then I found out that every pet had a person that owned ‘em.”
Yoho and his wife, Carolyn, have owned dogs, cattle, horses and cats, but do not have any pets of their own at the moment.
He recalled his favorite moments as a vet: “Having an animal that you fix, knowing that you saved its life or you saved a pet — Like on a dog, these little kids will come and their dog is just ready to die and you do something and they leave happy.”
“The kids are happy and the little puppy is licking your hand, those are kind of neat feelings,” Yoho said.