Dr. Mark Gold has worked with animals in 50 countries over his lengthy career in the military. And now he’s bringing all that experience to pets at the Connecticut Humane Society as the new medical director.

It’s a critical role overseeing CHS’ team of veterinarians, veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants and the lifesaving care they provide.

The 25-year Army veteran will head up CHS’ entire veterinary program, which encompasses all shelter medicine at CHS’ three locations (Newington, Waterford and Westport), its reduced-fee Fox Memorial Clinic, and traveling community wellness clinics. With so many pets arriving in need of extensive medical treatment plans, Gold’s passion for medicine, science and problem-solving is much needed.

“I love medicine. I love science. I absolutely love animals—they’re sentient beings, and care about what’s going on in their environment. They love like they’ve never been hurt. They’re deserving of care and need people to take good care of them,” said Gold, who has two senior German Shorthaired Pointers, Blitz and Kingston, at home.

Gold knew from childhood he wanted to be a veterinarian, way back when he had a cuddly pup named Rusty. He joined the Army Reserves the day after his veterinary school interviews, and became active duty after he became a veterinarian.

While he served military working dogs and pets of military personnel on bases over the years and worked with local shelters, his career also involved teaching at a medical school run by the Department of Defense, food and dairy inspection to prevent the spread of diseases, chemical defense, and time in the Pentagon.

“You learn how to prevent the spread of disease from place to place. You learn about appropriate housing and welfare. They’re very critical issues, so coming to CHS was right up my alley,” Gold added.

He also worked for the Navy Surgeon General as a senior veterinarian for the navy—and with dolphins.

“The dolphins do diver protection and ship protection, so if there was a diver in the water, they’d alert everyone. They were trained to know who the good guys were, and who the bad guys were. They’re the best cared for animals. They get special fish to eat and you’d inspect it ultra-fast for them,” Gold recalled.

After the military, Gold worked with sheep on a farm, with laboratory animals, and at a private practice veterinary hospital. At CHS, he hopes his fresh perspective can further along advancements to animal care and to the work of CHS veterinarians.

“We need to constantly be looking for continued improvements and make the working environment even better for the medical team so they can take care of animals more effectively and efficiently,” Gold said. “Every day, I want to show up and try to make something better.”