Dr. Ivy Oakley Heath was born and raised in New Bern, North Carolina. At the early age of four, she made known her desire to be a veterinarian, even though she had no pets and could not say or spell the word veterinarian. This desire and goal has never wavered. She started volunteering at a local veterinary office at the age of twelve. Dr. Heath would work after school, weekends, and summers for the next ten years. Thankful for the opportunity Dr. Heath’s parents gave her, she took every chance to learn about the profession she was determined to be a part of. Her thirst for veterinary medicine could not be quenched.
Graduating in the top one percent of her class in high school, Dr. Heath went on to Meredith College where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in three years. Following her college graduation, Dr. Heath immediately turned in her “perfect” application for NCSU-College of Veterinary Medicine at the age of twenty and was denied entrance. Devastated by the derailment of her dreams, Dr. Heath never stopped believing that where God closed the door, somewhere He would open a window. During this year, Dr. Heath taught high school biology, won teaching awards, matured through her increased responsibility, and met the man of her dreams while giving back through a local EMT class she was taking. On her second application to NCSU-CVM she was accepted and finally her dreams were on track again. During her veterinary college education, Dr. Heath married the man of her dreams, a farmer named David from the same part of North Carolina. It was at vet school that Dr. Heath while taking a packed course load, founded a program called the Human Animal Bond Project. This program was designed to train veterinary staff’s and student’s pets to do animal assisted therapy. This program is still in existence today and the program was the back drop for Dr. Heath’s first award in relation to the Bond. In 2001, dreams really do come true when Dr. Heath received her doctorate in veterinary medicine.
Dr. Heath worked at several multi-doctor practices from 2001- 2006. After making a break to do relief and emergency work while caring for her three beautiful children under the age of four, Dr. Heath contemplated if her desire of one day owning her own practice would ever come true. Once again during a tough time in her life, God opened another window. In April of 2008, Faithful Friends Veterinary Hospital was formed in the small rural community of Grifton, NC. This town of farmers and factory workers with a population of 2672 did not have a veterinarian. Dr. Heath started with ZERO clients and most of those who did come in knew nothing of preventative care. No one knew what a heart worm test was or had ever paid over $50 bucks for any kind of surgery. There was a hard long journey ahead. But by 2013, Faithful Friends Veterinary Hospital had started building their new hospital (nearly 5000 square feet!) compared to their previous 1500 square feet facility. In 2013, Faithful Friends Veterinary Hospital was chosen as one of the top four hospitals out of 35,000 in the country by IDEXX Laboratories. They were chosen because of the quality of medicine and surgery performed and their celebration of “The Bond” in every aspect of their practice.
Today Dr. Heath enjoys practicing veterinary medicine as a sole practitioner at her new state of art facility with an incredible staff that is leveraged to enhance the clients’ experience at every turn. Dr. Heath tries to educate both her community and be an advocate for her profession. Her favorite areas of veterinary medicine are dermatology, internal medicine, detailed surgery, quality hospice care, and of course anything that strengthens The Bond.
In her spare time, Dr. Heath enjoys raising goats, miniature donkeys, beef cattle, and row crops including: corn, cotton, soybeans, and wheat) on her husband’s “Bountiful Blessings Farm.” Dr. Heath enjoys all things southern, including southern cooking, North Carolina traditions, and both local and statewide history with her three children; Caleb 13, Hannabelle 11, and Elijah 10. Dr. Heath loves watching sunsets on the river and attending Integrity Church. A newly shared passion with her husband is enjoying speaking around the US to advocate for farming families and veterinarians. Dr. Heath knows how blessed she is to be living out all her dreams every day and she praises The Lord for all He has done for her.