By Ann Gill (M.A., ’76)
Dr. Brewster grew up on a ranch in La Barge, Wyoming. She knew from age seven that she wanted to be a veterinarian and that she wanted to attend “the best veterinary school in the nation—Colorado State University.” She never wavered from that goal nor from her devotion to CSU, although her veterinary focus shifted while on campus.
In La Barge, she was a 4-H member for 10 years. When she arrived on the CSU campus she was chosen for the marching band and served as an Ag Ambassador, representing the College of Agricultural Sciences at University and Alumni Association events. She also competed on the Vet School Palpation Team and in other competitions. In addition, she was in the Honors Program, where her senior project was assembling a pamphlet for publication that Extension could give to 4-H members on how to handle small equine emergencies on their own.
After graduation, she wasn’t sure she would be able to attend vet school. However, the day before her wedding, she received a phone call from CSU offering her a position in the entering class that had become open at the last minute. She explained that she very much wanted to accept, but her wedding and honeymoon trip would make her unable to start until three days into the new term. That late start was approved, and she became a veterinary student.
She had planned to return to La Barge following graduation from vet school, but during her senior year she took a scientific acupuncture course, which “sparked something in my inner core.” She started thinking about helping animals heal by using a combination of eastern and western medicines.
Her first step was to start her own practice. She laid the groundwork by talking to other veterinarians, because she did not want to complete with them but instead “work side by side.” She explains that it took about three years to find her first clients, who learned of her practice from ads she put up at JAX, feed stores, and on Craigslist. Then, other veterinarians began to seek her out.
Her practice, Zen Veterinary Acupuncture in Laporte, Colorado, is “completely ambulatory”; she does not have a hospital. She explains that “when doing acupuncture with animals, the more comfortable they are, the better.” So, she goes to the animal.
During the pandemic, she stepped back from the practice and enrolled in a master’s program, Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, with Dr. Huisheng Xie. She has plans to expand her practice and hopes one day to teach a course in eastern perspectives on veterinary medicine.
Many of Dr. Brewster’s favorite memories of CSU occurred after she was a student. At the top of that list is the “great time” she had at the final Homecoming game at Hughes Stadium, when she marched with the Alumni Band. Her mother, who was in the stands, asked her why she wasn’t an Alumni Association member. She signed up that same day. It was a decision she has never regretted, saying “I love the Alumni Association.”
She has enjoyed many Alumni Association activities since then, including those online during the pandemic. She is particularly enthusiastic about a gardening class; she and her husband Kevin were visiting in Texas when they viewed it on Zoom. Like all Rams, however, she misses in-person and on-campus interactions. One she greatly looks forward to resuming is the annual Halloween Organ Extravaganza at the University Center for the Arts. She and Kevin attend every year in costume.
Dr. Brewster also loves her alma mater. She says, “CSU is the reason all these opportunities were open to me.”