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Maj. Christina Truesdale: Beyond the uniform

U.S. Army retired Maj. Christina Truesdale and her beloved mules Heart and Jack strike a pose August 27, 2018. (Photo Courtesy of Connie Fore)

Courtesy Story
U.S. Army Warrior Care and Transition
By Annette P. Gomes, Warrior Care and Transition

ARLINGTON, Va. – Like most children, U.S. Army retired Maj. Christina Truesdale had her career picked out at an early age.

“When I was five, I rather matter-of-factly told my mother that I was going to be a jockey when I grew up, and she laughed.”

Roberta “Bobbi” Truesdale laughed for good reason, she knew her daughter, who now stands 5 feet 10 inches tall, would probably surpass the height requirement for a jockey. She insisted her daughter find other ways to work with horses.

“I was born with a passion for horses, which is strange considering I didn’t grow up on a farm or come from a horse household,” Truesdale said. “Somewhere along the way I discovered that I loved anatomy too, so my parents encouraged me to pursue veterinary medicine as I was starting high school.”

Truesdale received a full undergraduate Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship and a full health professions scholarship to veterinary school from the Army. She graduated from the University Of Missouri College Of Veterinary Medicine in 2004 and then went on to earn a Master of Science in International Agriculture Development from the University of California – Davis through the Army’s Long Term Health Education Training program.

Truesdale says practicing veterinary medicine is not without its challenges and having a love for animals is just the starting point for becoming a veterinarian.

“Veterinary medicine is a difficult profession. You have to be passionate about the relationship between animals and humans and have a strong desire to contribute to the greater good. There are so many challenges, from clients trying to guilt you into free work to medical doctors telling you that you’re not a real doctor. But as long as you have a strong ‘why’ being a veterinarian is extremely rewarding,” she said.

In addition to studying at the Integrative Veterinary Medicine Institute, where she earned her certification in equine veterinary medical manipulation, Truesdale studied veterinary acupuncture and herbal medicine training at the Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine. She is putting all her knowledge to use in her mobile practice, True Meridian Integrative Veterinary Medicine in Columbus, Georgia that she began after her retirement from the Army in June of 2018. Her practice focuses on a unique combination of alternative medicine techniques she has learned including acupuncture, herbal medicine, spinal manipulation, food therapy and Tui-na (Chinese medical massage).

“I treat a lot of horses that people have given up on. The best part about my job is being able to give hope to the owner and quality of life to the patient that they might not have had without these alternative modalities,” she explained.

Truesdale says giving hope is at the core of who she is.

“I absolutely love practicing Chinese veterinary medicine and love running my own business. As long as I can do those things, I feel very much fulfilled. I know I was put on earth to help animals this way.’

*This is a first in a series of stories about occupations in the military.

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