2013: Women to Watch

Published 10:42 am Friday, February 15, 2013

By Candace Matthews


Two legs or four….Dr. Cheryl Barrier-Powell doesn’t discriminate when it comes to providing medical care.

Dr. Powell is a full time veterinarian at her business, Powellsville Pet Clinic, where she tends to pets of all sizes.

When not treating those with four legs, she busies herself by helping to take care of humans by serving as a   volunteer Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) in Bertie County.

She also breeds, shows, and rescues full sized and miniature horses. She has been successful in her work and her hobbies and continues to serve the community well.

Dr. Powell came to Bertie County after attending Auburn (GA) Veterinary School. She was visiting the area to assist Dr. Peggy Johnston in her veterinary practice and decided to live in the area after meeting and marrying her husband, Powellsville Fire Chief David Powell.

She started her own mixed animal practice, Powellsville Pet Clinic, located on NC 4 just outside this northern Bertie County town. There she treats small and large animals, including horses. She performs surgery, sees routine patients, and answers emergency calls for animals. She sees animals at the clinic and visits horses at local stables once per week. Some of her patients come all the way from New York for care. Her reputation and dedication has given her many loyal clients.

Dr. Powell began work as a medical provider at a young age while in Alabama, where the basic EMT is known as a Medical Responder. She started accompanying her husband on various emergency calls in Bertie County soon after moving to the area. She quickly became certified to work in the state of North Carolina and has been a volunteer EMT for Bertie County ever since. She carries a pager that alerts her to any local incidents and if she is not busy treating an animal, she rushes out to help those of the two-legged variety.

Not all of her life is medicine. Dr. Powell has been showing horses in national competitions for most of her life. The first two horses the Powell’s displayed as a family were rescue horses, Joey and Starstruck.

“Starstruck was rescued from the slaughter yard,” Dr. Powell says, “We trained him and he went on to become a multiple regional champion and a world champion hunter and jumper. He went to nationals after that, which is the largest single breed horse show in the United States and he was a multiple national top ten in 17 or 18 classes including obstacle, liberty, and roadster.”

Many of her horses are national champions, Hall of Fame horses, and grand champions.

In 2004 she started breeding horses. Her daughter, Heather Powell, wanted them to breed one of their champion stallions to carry on his bloodline. They have continued to breed champions.

Dr. Powell has been working with the United States Equine Rescue League (USERL) for almost 10 years. She evaluates horses, fosters special needs horses, and provides some medical care for the organization.

After noticing a need for more horse care and education in the area, Dr. Powell took action. The Powellsville Pet Clinic started offering a Coggins/Rabies Clinic a few times each year. The Coggins Clinic offers reduced price Coggins tests, an important test to discover equine infectious anemia, and low cost rabies shots. She also takes the opportunity to speak to owners about other needs their horse may have.

Dr. Powell explains, “It is easier for some people to have their horses seen this way. You just put them on the trailer and bring them out to the location. We just want to protect the animals and help people out.”

A dollar from each Coggins clinic payment goes to (USERL).

Dr. Powell also assists the Powellsville Fire department with fundraisers and other events, like the annual turkey shoot in November and Bar-B-Q dinner in March. She often invites the USERL to have a yard sale during the Bar-B-Q dinner. She also assists local animal shelters with animal care and placement.

Dr. Powell says the key to her success is trying to have a routine, which can be difficult when you are on call for both human and animal emergencies. She notes that it makes things easier when the whole family has similar interests. Her husband is an EMT/Firefighter and her daughter is currently in Pharmacy School at Campbell University. They also travel to horse competitions together.

The next Coggins/Rabies clinic will be held February 23 in Hertford and all are welcome. Call Powellsville Pet Clinic for more information at (252) 209-9077.