It’s not uncommon for people to have competing ambitions, as was the case for Joy Fine, ’94. As an animal-obsessed, pointe-shoes-wearing girl in Ohio, she wanted to be a veterinarian as much as she wanted to dance.

It was part of the reason she attended Richmond. The university “had a good record of getting people into Ohio State [University College of Veterinary Medicine], and it had a dance company,” she said.

Fine was active in different styles of dance throughout her time at UR and even during veterinary school at Ross University in St. Kitts in the Virgin Islands, where she taught ballet to local children. However, ankle injuries put dancing on hiatus as she established her career in private and corporate practice before specializing in veterinary acupuncture, also known as integrative medicine.

“It’s a much more common treatment option in other parts of the world than it is in the U.S., but we’re starting to catch up,” said Fine, who has made Charlotte, North Carolina, her home. “I probably do the most acupuncture cases for arthritis, chronic pain, Pawspice — which is animal hospice for our cancer patients that are not going to be continuing chemotherapy, especially dogs with bone cancer — and then progressive neurological problems that we really don’t have any drugs to treat yet.”

As a relief doctor, she makes her own schedule, which gives her the flexibility to perform with two local dance companies, Wingspan Dance and Mufuka Works.

“I need both for work-life balance,” said Fine, who is involved in Charlotte’s burgeoning arts scene. “I love being a veterinarian, but you are subjected to a lot of traumas and emotional situations. So you need to have some sort of art to process what you experience as a veterinarian, and I find that dance works for me.”