Class of 2023: Ask for Dr. Steinman and Three Men Might Answer
A first-person essay by Gabe Steinman, who after graduation will be joining his grandfather and father at Salisbury Animal Hospital northeast of Charlotte, North Carolina.
By Gabe Steinman
My veterinary story started long before I was born in a small rural town of Hardin County, Ohio, where a little boy was caught innocently dipping a kitten into the farm’s water trough. A strong hand promptly grabbed this boy by the collar and dunked him underwater, apparently to teach him a lesson.
My great-grandmother was a loving but stern woman who preached tough love and usually provided her opinion openly. When my grandfather, Charles Steinman, told his mother he was going to work on the 90-acre family farm after college, she simply said, “No.” She always wanted more for her three children than the opportunities afforded by a small farm.
Pop (as we grandkids call him) worked with animals from a young age. He fed the Holstein cows, slopped the Hampshire pigs and prepared lambs that he and his sister would show in the county fair as their 4H project. Many years later, a strong work ethic led him to being accepted into the Ohio State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Pop graduated in June 1969 and, after serving two years in the U.S. Army, accepted a small animal position in Kannapolis, North Carolina.
While his boss was on vacation, Pop ran the practice by himself and quickly decided to start his own business.
In 1971, Pop, his wife, Marna, my 2-year-old father and my 1-year-old uncle packed their belongings into the family Volvo station wagon and moved to Salisbury, North Carolina.
Pop and his fellow OSU veterinary classmate Dr. John Harroff started Salisbury Animal Hospital, officially operating out of the back of an old tractor garage. The business soon began to grow with additional hires such as Dr. John Strasser and Dr. Gene Stine – all Ohio State CVM graduates.
A few decades later, my father, Tim Steinman, pursued his passion for veterinary medicine and graduated from NC State College of Veterinary Medicine in 1995. Upon graduation, my dad joined the family practice working alongside my grandfather and my uncle Todd Steinman, the practice manager.
The practice has grown to three locations and employs 50 hard-working, unique people I consider to be part of my extended family. I basically grew up at the Salisbury Animal Hospital.
Over the years, I’ve taken on various roles including kennel tech, receptionist and handyman and even became a doggie drive-thru specialist during the COVID lockdowns of 2020. My family, in particular my grandfather and father, instilled in me their passion for veterinary medicine, and when I was accepted off the waitlist for the Class of 2023, I was thrilled.
If I had to sum up my time at the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine in one word, it would be “gratitude.”
While my family was essential in my getting here, it has been the clinicians, professors, technicians and staff of the veterinary college who have helped me fall in love with this profession.
I focused on small animal medicine and throughout my school career have been fortunate enough to work in the specialty services in the Terry Center, participate in small animal courses such as applied surgery and feline medicine, attend emergency/critical care wet labs and participate in clubs such as the Veterinary Business Management Association and the Christian Veterinary Missions Fellowship.
Acknowledging the privilege of my circumstances, I am indebted to my family for their support and to my classmates for the lifelong friendships we have formed. At the Salisbury Animal Hospital, I plan to give back to the community and to the schools that have shaped me into the person I am today.
I asked my grandfather the other day whether he had imagined having a son and grandson who would follow in his footsteps.
Echoing Great-Grandma Steinman, he succinctly said, “No.”