Born and raised in Birmingham, Ala., Dr. David Dykes of Foley says it was a fateful career day at school that determined his professional journey into veterinary medicine.
“I was in eighth grade and had a friend who was excited about talking to the veterinarian at the event, so I thought I’d go along and listen to what he had to say,” Dykes says. “I was immediately hooked. I’d grown up with animals and we’d always had pets at the house, but there was something that really caught my attention that day. ”
After high school graduation, Dr. Dykes left Birmingham bound for Tuscaloosa and attended two years at the University of Alabama before transferring to Auburn where he graduated from vet school. During his last three months of vet school he practiced with a vet in Summerdale as part of his graduation requirements.
“I was somewhat familiar with Baldwin County because my family spent time on the coast during the summertime,” Dykes says. “I was ready to stay on in Summerdale after graduation, but I had made a commitment to my brother-in-law, who is also a vet, to help with his practice in Tuscaloosa. But after two years, we moved down to Baldwin County, my son was born here about a month later, and we’ve been here ever since.”
Dykes opened his own practice in 1998, and has worked with animals from the smallest pets to livestock to zoo creatures. “We had a 90-pound, 16-foot snake with a respiratory issue at one point, and we’ve helped the zoo with lions and tigers, and of course we still have our kittens and puppies. Needless to say, it stays interesting!”
When Dykes is not at the clinic, he says he loves spending his downtime with his grandchildren.
“We enjoy the outdoors a lot, and there is so much to do here out on the water. I also like to spend time in my greenhouse. We have mango trees and guava and papaya. It’s a hobby I picked up along the way that I really enjoy. This is a great community and we really like the people.”
And as for house pets? “We currently have three dogs, three cats and a horse at the house. At one time we had 27 pets, but we’ve downsized quite a bit. We only have one son, but my wife has actually raised countless babies over the years!”
While his clinic stays busy, “I have a great staff, and most pet owners are awesome people to work with,” Dykes says. “Even though we close our clinic on Saturday, we’ll get calls on the weekend or after hours and it’s hard to say no to sick animals, but that’s why I felt drawn to this field. I want to help them.”