I am pretty sure that most of us by now have heard of the term "Pay it Forward". If you need a refresher of what this means please feel free to use my old standby: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pay_it_forward . As you may know the concept is not new, but for me this is the first time in my life I have been able to act on this concept as a veterinarian.
Some of you who know me may remember my rough patch that started in 2010 with medical issues, a loss of a job, a fractured leg, a new baby to care for, and a longing to move back to the Midwest. Family, friends, and perfect strangers took my little family under their wings and helped us to get to the better place we are now. I will never forget the kind acts that others did to help.
I started my house call business out of a desire to help others in the comfort of their own home. I also wanted the flexibility to be able to remain a stay at home mom for Ethan. For a little over a year the house calls were the focus of my business. I then had an 'aaha' moment when I realized that I would be able to help more people and pets if I had a chance to set up a low cost wellness clinic. From my research I found that very few veterinarians were offering this type of service in Central Iowa. I had been introduced to this idea while still in Maine. A veterinarian that I knew and respected traveled the entire state offering low cost clinics in a variety of locations.
I started my quest with what I knew: Tractor Supply & Pet Health Food Stores (Thanks to The Animal House in Damariscotta Maine). I spoke with the managers at Tractor Supply in Ankeny, and they were game to give it a try. I also spoke with April, the owner of Bone A Patreat in Des Moines too. She saw the benefits of offering this type of service to her customers as well. I also kept an ear out for other potential locations, and two clients highly recommended my third location: PetSakes in Des Moines. I thoroughly enjoy all three locations I am at. I not only see clients who could financially use a little help, but I also see owners who want another opinion on chronic disease states. I feel that my integrative background helps owners see options that have never been offered to them before. Pets seem to be much more relaxed in these settings than when I worked in a traditional clinic. Many of them have had positive experiences at these locations before since they are all pet friendly and full of treats. I love seeing people's reactions to pets getting acupuncture as they pass buy to make a purchase in a different part of the store. I am glad that I have a low overhead and that I can offer people a good price for my services. It is helpful that a majority of what need for my clinics packs into four milk crates and a cooler. Less is best & life is good.
Dr. Abby lives with her Son, Ethan, Ray the cat, and Jazz the elderly Chihuahua in Central Iowa.