These days Dr. Dodd, or Bert, as his friends call him, uses his skill and experience to teach dentistry to veterinary students as a Clinical Associate Professor of Veterinary Dentistry at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine.
grew up in the Valley-the middle child, with one older sister and a younger brother.
father was a jeweler, and his
mother and father worked together in the jewelry store.
spent summers working on the farm and in gas stations.
In school, he
played French horn in the band and was Drum Major through Junior High and High School.
After graduating from High School in 1967, Dr. Dodd went to Sam Houston State University where he was Drum Major of the band for two years.
junior year of college, his
science classes and labs interfered with marching band and he
had a hard time keeping up with the demanding time commitment.
Another welcome distraction at this time was his
wife grew up together and were high school sweethearts.
followed him to Sam Houston
and they were married in the summer of love, May 3, 1969.
turned four years into three so they could graduate at the same time.
He graduated in May 1971 and was in the process of being drafted, so he joined the Air Force.
graduated in August and joined him.
undergraduate focus was in pre-dental, and he
was on an alternate list for dental school when he
In the Air Force he
served for four years as a medic.
never had much experience in veterinary medicine until he
was in the service, and as a medic he
found that he
could do dentistry as a vet.
first assignment was Okinawa, and from there he
was transferred to Bergstrom for his
final two years.
That's how he
ended up getting to Austin.
After four years of service, Dodd
began working for Dr. James Wood in Austin.
gained admittance to the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University
and attended from 1976-1979.
Upon completion, he
returned to work for Dr. Wood on every break from vet school, and Dr. Wood eventually hired Dodd fulltime when he
In April 1981, Dr. Dodd
own Austin-area small animal practice, Hiway 620 Animal Hospital
It was five years later at a dental CE course in Dallas that Dr. Dodd's
interests and passions began to truly change his
After rekindling his
excitement about dentistry, he
became a dedicated scholar-taking every dentistry CE course he
could find all over the country.
A few years later, he gained admission to the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry, of which he later served as president (1999-2001) and became a Fellow.
An eternal student of his
craft, Dr. Dodd
continued to gain more and more dental knowledge everywhere he
could and started taking dental referrals in Austin at his
By 1993, he
was overrun by referrals and needed help with his
general practice, so he
took on a partner, Dr. Randy Smith.
That same year he
Alternate Pathway Residency Program for the American Veterinary Dental College
under the mentorship of Dr. Bob Wiggs in Dallas.
The practice continued to grow, and in 1998 he
took on a second partner, Dr. Jim Richardson.
continued to pursue his
residency, which he
completed in 2001.
took the exam for the College and successfully completed all parts two years later.
Meanwhile, Dr. Dodd
had been making a name for himself as an expert in veterinary dentistry and his
expertise was being requested for lectures, labs and seminars across the nation.
This is the point in the story where I deduce that the man sitting across from me must have preternatural abilities.
describes it with much greater humility.
was running a general practice, doing a residency program and raising three kids, which he
refers to as "quite time-consuming."
enjoys both practicing and teaching, but acknowledges that in one lifetime, you can only wholly immerse yourself in one or the other, especially when you're raising three children.
Most people go through college, do an internship or residency and 3-4 years later they're done.
It was ten years from the time Dr. Dodd
residency until completion.
In 2002, Dr. Dodd
was asked to come over to A&M to do a root canal on Bobby the bear, Baylor University's mascot.
dental practice and was working at TAMU-CVM fulltime by March 2006, teaching dentistry to fourth year students and dental lectures and electives to the third year students.
The people he
admired the most in vet school were the ones who had been in private practice for years and came back to teach.
remembers thinking, "After 25 years in private practice, maybe I have something I can offer students.
It is apparent that being in the suite with the students in this capacity is Dr. Dodd's
He leans against the cabinets, laughs and smiles, constantly sharing jokes with the students and Tommy (who has been his technician for the last 20 years).
They talk about the previous evening's baseball all-star game and the recent popularity of croc sandals.
"Grand Slam" by Shorty Rogers and his
Giants plays softly from the computer speakers.
passion for teaching dentistry as his
admits that he
feels great joy interacting with the students and seeing the positive results from a healthy mouth in a pet.
The corners of his
mouth raise into an unavoidable smile as he
speaks of his
passion for dentistry, and he
gets a glimmer in his
"When these guys are getting old and you clean up their mouth, all of a sudden they're a puppy again.
That's what is really rewarding-when you see the benefits of a healthy mouth."
The most precious thing to Dr. Dodd
love for God and family.
The Dodd's take care of both of their mothers.
mom lives next door, and his
mother-in-law lives with them.
has watched as his
three children have grown to become successful adults with families of their own.
Dr. Morton came over to Austin years ago to learn dentistry from Dr. Dodd
, and their wives got together in the office and shared pictures and stories of their children.
encourages all students, colleagues and veterinary practitioners to take as much veterinary dentistry CE as they can.