As a veterinarian, Dr. Devon Spencer gets to work with God’s creatures and minister to the people who care for them. “God showed us back in the garden of Eden that he wanted us to care for his creation,” she said. “And I get to do a little bit of that each day.”
All her life Dr. Spencer has loved being outside and working with animals. Though she initially wanted to be a chemist, she soon realized that she did not like being inside all day, so she attended Monmouth College for a degree in biology. She was pleased to still study chemistry while applying other sciences and practicing in different environments such as labs, small animal clinics, and rural practice.
By the end of her undergraduate career, Dr. Spencer realized that evolution and the Bible did not mesh. Though it took her a while to understand this, she’s thankful that it gave her time to discover what evolutionists believe. Now she can better refute their arguments as a creationist.
For her doctorate of veterinary medicine, she attended the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. Now she works at a veterinary practice in Hernandez, New Mexico, caring for small animals such as dogs and cats.
Dr. Spencer enjoys seeing all the ways her profession allows her to give God glory. “We get to see the complexity of the creatures he has created,” she said, “There is nothing like being in the middle of a complicated surgery and realizing that God created these intricate tissues and organs.”
However, no matter how much a vet studies, some animal patients do not fit the description of certain diseases or ailments. “We have to walk step by step to see how we can help them even if we do not know exactly what is wrong with them.” She sees God’s guidance in challenging situations and rests in the fact that God knows everything about his creatures—because he created them! It makes her understand that things are not organized by chance but on purpose by an intentional design.
By helping animals, she also helps people, because, as she says, “behind every animal is a person.” This gives her an opportunity to talk about her faith and how it affects her work. She is even able to pray with the people about their animals or about other things they may be facing in life.
In her first two years after veterinary school, she especially enjoyed working in a mixed animal rural practice in Illinois. Traveling from farm to farm to care for sheep, cattle, and horses helped her feel like a part of the community and gave her even more opportunities to share her faith.
Dr. Spencer has gone on short-term mission trips with Christian Veterinary Mission, sharing her skills and love for Jesus around the world. On her trips, she teaches people how to care for their animals and make them as productive as possible; she has also operated on animals and administered vaccinations.
The biggest challenge she faces in her practice is the issue of the sanctity of life. Many animal owners elevate their pets to having the same rights as a human or devalue humans to the level of animals. “It is not uncommon for people to comment that they wish we could euthanize people suffering from disease like we do pets,” Dr. Spencer said. “It is a challenge to help them understand that people are made in God’s image and are unique from the rest of creation.”
Dr. Spencer encourages everyone who is interested in science to pursue it without hesitation. However, because many Christian colleges do not have masters or doctorate degrees in science specialties, she warns that you will most likely have to attend an institution whose teachings contradict the Scriptures’ account of creation.
“Do not fear this,” she says, “but prepare. If you don’t know your Bible, you have nothing to stand on. Don’t be afraid to study evolution. Knowing what other people believe helps you to have better conversations with them about how their worldview differs from what the Bible says.”
Dr. Spencer uses her knowledge to counteract the evolutionary worldview in the articles she writes for the Answers in Genesis website, including articles on red wolves, monkey teeth, and dog noses. She has also published an article in Cereal Chemistry Journal discussing how moldy feed that cannot be fed to livestock could be used to make ethanol for fuel.