CUMMING, Ga. — Since she was a child, Dr. Gale Galland has always loved animals.
Today, she lives in Cumming and although she says she’s semi-retired, she works part-time between the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta and the Forsyth Animal Hospital.
For her work with the CDC, Galland was recognized at the American Medical Veterinary Association’s convention in Denver, Colo. July 25-29 with the Public Service Award.
“It was a complete surprise,” Galland said. “It meant a whole lot to me that they thought enough about me and my career to nominate me for this award. It was really special.”
Leading the Importations and Animal Contact Team, Galland handled imported animals and animal products, especially primates, as one of her jobs during her 21 years with the CDC.
Once, when there was a loose monkey on a large container ship, Galland climbed a rope ladder from a small Coast Guard boat to rescue the animal, said Adam Langer, a CDC colleague, in a recommendation letter.
“There is literally no one who is Dr. Galland’s equal with regard to the regulatory, public health, and medical issues surrounding the ongoing use of nonhuman primates in research,” Langer said.
When she graduated from the University of Georgia in 1986, Galland worked full time at the Forsyth Animal Hospital and has helped out ever since.
“I’ve always had a love for animals,” said Galland.
Dr. Bill Avra of Forsyth Animal Hospital recalled Galland’s early years there.
“I’d leave the clinic at noon on a Saturday when we closed. I’d come back at seven at night, and she’d still be sitting with a dog to make sure it was okay,” Avra said. ““She’s a very devoted veterinarian.”
Colleagues described Galland as having a calm, humble personality.
“I’m not used to being the center of attention,” Galland said. “I’m a little embarrassed.”
Galland said that even though she is semi-retired, she enjoys her work at the CDC.
“I didn’t want to leave it,” she said. “I’ve learned so much. It’s been a really good, educational career for me.”