He didn’t set out to earn awards or accolades, just to do the best job he could. Since opening his own equine practice, Equi-Center Veterinary Hospital in Norman, Okla., Dr. Mike Wiley discovered that he enjoys all aspects of being a veterinarian.
“I grew up on a ranch in Oklahoma. OSU’s veterinary college was a good place to go and I got an excellent education there graduating in 1980,” says Wiley. “You get to deal with a variety of people in a variety of situations. No days are the same; they are always different. I think I’m fortunate in that my profession also turned out to be my passion.”
He received a plaque from the Governor for assisting animal victims in the May 1999 tornados and most recently was featured in a documentary on the May 2013 tornado victims.
“When the tornadoes went through, there were a lot of people who did a lot of good things,” recalls Wiley. “You know every day you hopefully help someone on a one-to-one basis. And in situations like this (tornadoes) you get to help many people in their time of need.”
And that passion is not lost on his clients. In fact generations have benefited from Wiley’s veterinary services. Katherine and Edwin Sain of Oklahoma City have been bringing their horses to Wiley since 1986. During the May 2013 tornado their home was leveled and several of their horses were injured.
“We inherited him from my father-in-law who had race horses,” explains Katherine. “He brought his horses here so when we moved back to Oklahoma, we started bringing our horses here. I like his ability to get the job done when it needs to be done.”
“Also he cares,” adds Edwin. “As far as taking care of the horses, he cares.”
“It’s like he has a personal interest in them. They are not just somebody’s horses,” continues Katherine.
The Sains met while attending Oklahoma State University. They lived in various places across the United States and returned to Oklahoma when aging parents needed tending. The couple started raising and showing registered paint horses. They are so impressed with Wiley that they recently endowed a scholarship in their veterinarian’s honor.
“We have been thinking about it for a couple of years,” says Katherine. “After talking to him on several occasions he said there are fewer and fewer large animal vets. That there was a need. You have to have someone to take his place when he decides to retire. And we thought what better than the vet school, at the school we graduated from, to endow the scholarship in his name.”
When Wiley learned of the scholarship, he said he felt an array of emotions.
“It was a very nice honor. It’s nice to have your clients think that much of you,” says Wiley.
The Dr. Michael J. Wiley Endowed Scholarship in Large Animal Medicine will be awarded to third or fourth year veterinary students who have achieved high academic performance and are interested in large animal medicine. The first award was awarded in April 2016 to Darcy Messerly of Enterprise, Utah. A member of the class of 2016, Messerly will join Dr. Rod Auffet (OSU CVM ’95) at a rural, predominantly large animal mixed veterinary practice in Wray, Colo. She is very grateful for the support and hopes to one day pay forward the generosity shown towards her.
“We like horses so that’s where our main thrust is,” says Katherine. “More people are getting in the horse business and more vets are getting out so we’re going to need more vets. And if you’re into agriculture or anything that supports the horse industry or vice versa, do something and give it back. There aren’t enough to go around and we need more of them (large animal vets). And no gift is too small. I hope people follow up on what we’ve started. Pick a scholarship that is already started and put something to it. If you want to start your own, do that, too. I’ve always said, ‘in lieu of flowers, send it to the scholarship’.”
OSU graduates between 85 and 90 veterinarians a year. Roughly 35 percent of new graduates go into a large animal practice; however, those numbers can change from year to year.
If you are interested in supporting future veterinarians, please contact Jayme Ferrell at the OSU Foundation. Ferrell serves as the director of development for OSU’s Center for Veterinary Health Sciences. She can be reached at email@example.com or (405) 385-0729.