Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life. Find a hobby that is equally as fulfilling as your career, and you’re headed for true bliss. Local physician Cheryl Short has been lucky enough to find both!
When she isn’t taking care of women as one of the region’s most trusted obstetrics/gynecology physicians, Short finds work-life balance with her beloved and relatively rare Dutch spaniels, which she breeds and shows in competition.
Short grew up in Clinton, Illinois and attended Southern Illinois University before obtaining her medical degree at University of Illinois College of Medicine. Today, she shares a thriving medical practice with four women providers at Obstetrical and Gynecological Assoc, Inc., in Valparaiso and Portage.
“I think as a female provider we know women better,” Short said. “Most of the advances in medicine have been male-directed in terms of testing and screening. It’s important to have a female influence in the industry.”
And then there are the pups.
“I have a breed called Nederlandse Kooikerhondje, or Dutch spaniel. I show them in agility and conformation at dog beauty pageants for breed and type,” Short said, later admitting that agility is her favorite. “I like the agility because it’s teamwork between you and your dog. When you win, you win because you work well together as a team.”
Short has been breeding and showing dogs for about five years, with Callie, her oldest furry friend, just turning 10 this year. She has three other dogs as well: Kyline, 6; Bri, 4; and Bessie, the newest member of the family at 16 months. Short says she first got into dog breeding as a hobby to take the stress off of practicing medicine.
“I got into it as a kind of therapy,” she said. “I needed something to help me not work as much. I love my job and what I do, but I think that I have a really good work-life balance right now because of the time spend with my dogs. I think that’s important; it helps me to be a better physician.”
Between balancing her career as a physician and keeping up with the schedule of training and competing with her dogs, Short has developed an exceptional work ethic. She attributes much of this discipline and drive to the positive influences she had growing up.
“I’ve had great role models form my parents in terms of work ethic. I think that has really helped me a lot with what I do today.”
Short also has had a number of significant role models in her adventures with dog breeding. One individual she particularly looks up to is her trainer, Shirley Kilpatrick.
“I am very fortunate to have a good trainer in Shirley,” Short said. “She really works around my schedule, and she’s been my go-to person for anything I might need. There is also excellent vet care in this area, as well as a lot of good dog people who provide me with support and references. I just call them up, and they’re ready to help me with any questions I might have.”
While she has had several hobbies over the years, Short says working with her purebred dogs has captured her attention the most.
“As I’ve aged my hobbies have changed at various periods. I’ve had a sewing phase, a knitting phase, a quilting phase… but this is something that fits me better. It fits my lifestyle, and it’s good for my mental health. I plan on doing this long into my retirement.”
Short and her dogs will be attending the 143rd Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show this February. The WKC is America’s oldest organization dedicated to the sport of purebred dogs. According to their website, this is the first year that the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje will be featured at the show. Short and her dogs will show off their skills against more than 3,000 competitors, and will no doubt have the support of the entire community behind them! The show typically airs on cable or satellite stations, and is live streamed at www.wkclive.com.
For more information about Dr. Short’s medical practice, visit weunderstandwomen.com.