"This is a small, rural community very similar to where I grew up," said Dr. Sikes, who is originally from Buffalo. "I may not know all of the people here, but I have family and friends just like them. This is like coming home for me."
After completing his high school education through a home school program in 1998, Dr. Sikes used a rodeo scholarship to attend Missouri Valley College in Marshall for one year.
Later, Dr. Sikes transferred to Missouri State University in Springfield where he earned his bachelor's degree in 2004. He continued his education at the University of Missouri-Columbia and graduated from the veterinary medicine program in May of 2008.
"I did a preceptorship here in 2007," said Dr. Sikes, who served at the Barry County Veterinary Clinic for around three weeks while attending college. During his education, he also served at several other clinics in Missouri and Iowa.
"It worked out that I was able to come back and start practicing here full-time after I graduated from college," said Dr. Sikes. "I enjoy the community here, the other veterinarians and all of the people working at the clinic. This is smaller than some of the other practices I worked at, but there are a bunch of good people here and I really enjoy working with them."
As Dr. Sikes serves the Barry County community, he hopes to bring new equipment and medical techniques to the local clinic.
"There is advanced training and new technology emerging every year," said Dr. Sikes. "We have so many applications of new technology, from X-rays and CAT scans to MRIs and advanced surgeries like total hip replacements for dogs.
"In Columbia one of the veterinary researchers did a surgery on a Siberian Tiger," said Dr. Sikes. "I'm very interested in the ability to integrate basic animal medicine with advanced care."
Although Dr. Sikes hopes he is able to bring a new perspective to the local clinic, he plans to focus on simply doing what he loves, caring for and treating a wide variety of animals.
"There are a million reasons why I chose this field," said Dr. Sikes. "I enjoy working with animals, plus the science side of veterinary medicine can be real challenging.
"There is a lot of hard work involved, but you get rewarded for your hard work," said Dr. Sikes. "You get to work with some of the best people and the best animals."
The Barry County Veterinary Clinic is open from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 am. to noon on Saturday.