Unlike many of his colleagues, Dr. DeWard did not grow up with horses. Most of his horse experience early on in life came through YMCA camps and friends. Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, he lived in a southern suburb of the Twin Cities for the first 18 years of his life. Horse opportunities weren’t abundant, but he did spend countless hours at the farm owned by his “uncle” Joe, and developed a love, respect and passion for animals of all shapes and sizes from a very young age. After high school, he attended St. Olaf college, receiving a Bachelors degree in biology and environmental studies before moving on to pursue interests in fisheries, aquaculture and wildlife biology. In 1997, after a year studying the nesting ecology of Scarlet macaws in Costa Rica, Dr. DeWard entered a masters program where he intended to pursue a career in wildlife management and conservation biology. It was during that time a mentor of his who was a veterinarian made a significant impact on his life that helped change his career course. He left Central America and returned to his home state, where he entered The College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota, developing an interest in and passion for horses while earning his veterinary degree in 2003. Upon graduation, he promptly made the trek half way across the country landing in Washington state where he started his career in horse medicine at Northwest Equine as an associate veterinarian. He went on to start his own practice in 2008 with his now wife Julie. Together, they built Mt. Rainier Equine and served the greater South King County area for 12 years. During that time, his family grew with the birth of his two sons, Ben in 2013 and Drew in 2017.Mt. Rainier Equine joined Northwest Equine in December of 2020, giving Dr. DeWard the much needed balance to enjoy his family as well as his career. Professionally he has interests in reproduction, ophthalmology, dentistry and podiatry. Outside of work, he has a lifelong passion for swimming, previously competing at age group, high school and collegiate levels. When he is not working he can usually be found in, on or near the water (pool, lake or ocean), often with his boys in tow. He continues to train and compete in US Masters Swimming, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Pacific Northwest Association of Masters Swimmers. He loves to explore nature, work on projects around the house, hike, and enjoy all the outdoor beauty that Washington has to offer.