Dr. Jennifer Lavender grew up in Dallas, attending Lakewood, Armstrong, and University Park Elementary schools. She continued at McCullough Middle School and graduated from Highland Park High School in 3 years in 1991. She completed her degree in Biomedical Science at Texas A&M University.
Dr. Lavender took two years off between undergraduate school and her professional studies, working as a nurse in London on a work-abroad program, where she had an incredible experience. Upon returning to Dallas, Dr. Lavender worked in the Animal Diagnostic Center at Southwest Medical Center, an experience that helped foster an interest in laboratory techniques and diagnostics.
Growing up, Dr. Lavender never wanted to be anything but a veterinarian. She still has writings from elementary school saying that she wanted to go to A&M to be a veterinarian!
Getting into and completing vet school is challenging, and her commitment from day 1 help provide the drive she needed to graduate from Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 2001. After graduation, she worked in a busy general practice in Houston before starting an internship at the Veterinary Emergency Referral Group, Inc. This year-long internship focused on internal medicine and critical care under the guidance of internist Laurie Noaker, DVM, DCVIM.
Finally moving back to Dallas in 2003 after completing her internship, Dr. Lavender worked in several of the metroplex’s general practices and emergency facilities. Working as a relief veterinarian helped broaden her awareness of the veterinary industry. At this time, Dr. Lavender also started a mobile surgery business, which provides primarily orthopaedic services for local practices that do not perform such procedures, a service that is still available to local practices.
In 2004, Dr. Lavender had the distinct pleasure of meeting Bonnie Hill, founder of the Spay Neuter Network (www.spayneuternet.org). Intending to only serve as a consultant for Bonnie as she created her nonprofit, low-cost spay/neuter organization, Dr. Lavender was immediately drawn to the mission of the group and to Bonnie Hill’s passion. Dr. Lavender joined SNN and served as their primary surgeon until the opening of Metro Paws Animal Hospital. With a new clinic opening (and a baby on the way!), she intended to part ways with the nonprofit organization.
As it turned out, her commitment to the mission of making spay/neuter available to all pet owners was too strong to separate completely. She remained a part-time surgeon for several years, and currently serves as President on the Board of Directors. Most recently, Dr. Lavender the opportunity to travel to Saipan with SNN on a mission to bring low cost spay-neuter to the US territory island. Read more on this incredible journey, and check out her interview with the local news below: http://bit.ly/MPAHSaipan
In addition to her work with SNN, Dr. Lavender was also the first DVM in Dallas to sign up to work with TVMF Pals (https://tvmf.org/programs/tvmf-pals/). This organization was started by the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation and works to provide and coordinate medical care for the pets of Meals on Wheels clients. The thinking behind this effort is that pets in these homes benefits both the humans and their furry friends. The benefits of pet ownership is even recognized by the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/health-benefits/index.html)!! And in a time when dogs and cats are euthanized by the millions in our country, the Meals on Wheels clients are an added source of homes for these otherwise homeless pets. Dr. Lavender – and the Metro Paws team – is so proud to have been the first hospital in Dallas to raise their hand to help this incredible mission.
Once acquainted with TVMF Pals, Dr. Lavender became interested in an associated service that this group offers. Studies conducted revealed that many MOW clients used their MOW food to feed their pets due to the ever rising cost of pet food. TVMF Pals was fast to act to help resolve this problem by initiating a monthly pet food delivery program to provide free pet food to these clients. TVMF Pals is not only helping keep these pets healthy, but also fed. Dr. Lavender’s children and she remain active drivers in this pet food delivery initiative.
Alongside all of this activity – Metro Paws was growing, and by 2017, there were 3 locations. Dr. Lavender is still an active owner and practitioner, and she serve as the Medical Director of the Oak Cliff location where she continues to bring her passion for pet advocacy to the Metro Paws family.
Believe it or not – there is some left in the day for other things. 🙂 Outside of work and volunteering, Dr. Lavender is a hands-on single mom of a son and a daughter. Her son is an avid fisherman (www.dallasangler.com) and her daughter is an aspiring veterinarian who is obsessed with horseback riding.
Due to their innate interest in animals and their big hearts, both kids can be seen at the office on occasion helping out.
Dr. Lavender herself is very active, recently supporting West Dallas by running in the Trinity River 10k, and skating for the Dallas roller derby team, The Dallas Derby Devils (www.derbydevils.com), for whom she is captain of her home team.
Dr. Lavender was inspired to “Hit it Hard” with physical fitness after the untimely death of her beloved sister. Dr. Lavender changed her Dallas Derby Devils number to 1129, her sister’s birthday, vowing to recommit to physical fitness, to never take for granted her ability to walk and to move, saying “If my sister cannot walk, I’ will walk for both of us.” Texas band “Safety Meeting” was so inspired by her story, and her sister’s, that they wrote this song in their honor. (Yes, that’s Dr. Lavendar in the video!)
She is addicted to Studio 6 (check out Jan 31 at http://studio6fitness.com/century-club), plays racquetball, swims, runs, practices yoga at CorePower, and HIIT at Sunstone Fit.
If you are still reading, you are likely as exhausted as Dr. Lavender is by the end of her day! So get off this website and schedule an appointment with your pet at Metro Paws today!