Last Sunday Ethan and I attended a rally to support LGBTQ+ individuals in the state of Iowa. He made an amazing sign on his own that said “You can’t ban people”. Being enveloped within the positive energy of the day I started to think about my practice and how I strive to be inclusive – not exclusive.
I graduated as a veterinarian 21yrs ago. At that time, I was strictly a traditional veterinarian. In fact – as I was searching for a job I would skip over openings if they mentioned acupuncture etc. as being part of the practice. It had been drilled into my head that there wasn’t scientific proof that acupuncture worked, and I did not take the time to look into that fact on my own.
I should post my resume so that you can better understand the non-traditional path I bounced through to get to the point I am today – owning my own integrative mobile practice. I have worked in multiple traditional clinics (IL, ME, IA), at Purdue University as a small animal intern, and I worked at a 24hr referral center as an emergency clinician outside Chicago. I am thankful that I did not know right away that I wanted to work for myself as an integrative vet. The road I took was long and painful.
My work as an ER veterinarian included caring for all patients hospitalized in the ICU as well as taking care of the emergencies coming in during my shift. I might be in charge of caring of a dog with diarrhea, and I could also be in charge of taking a patient to surgery for a bleeding abdominal mass – all at the same time. At one point I was in the ICU caring for a dachshund who had just come out of back surgery. No matter what pain med and/or sedative I gave him he kept crying. I felt so bad for him. A quite & calm veterinarian, Dr. Cheryl Adams, visited him in his cage. When she left he was sleeping. I later tracked her down to see what she had done to help the pupper – acupuncture. Dr. Adams then handed me a packet of needles & showed me where I could put one (top of my head – GV 20) for stress. The rest is – history.
I took my acupuncture classes with IVAS in 2008/2009. I started my own mobile business in 2011/2013-ish (that time is a blur as we moved from Maine to Ames, Iowa in order to get closer to family). I spent a majority of the first year walking miles with young Ethan around Ames as I plotted my next career move.
How am I inclusive – not exclusive?
I started my own business because I was not meant to be within four walls all day long. I want to take the time to get to know my clients & patients. I can keep my prices reasonable because I have a low overhead. I tell owners standard recommendations for their pets…my additional feedback…and I let owners choose the path that makes the most sense to them – financially & philosophically. My goal is to work as part of a pet’s health care team (ie I do not require folks to switch their pet’s care to my practice exclusively. I am quite happy to be part of a pet health team while I provide additional integrative insight). I not only offer traditional care (ie vaccines, lab testing, & prescription management), but I also offer holistic care (ie acupuncture, supplement recommendations, & food therapy). This combo makes me ‘integrative’. I advocate for owners as well as for those without their own voice – pets, children, & at times adults. I am a problem solver and an empathetic individual. I will be open and honest about each situation I encounter, and if I need to I will be blunt in situations of neglect/ danger/ needed education. Everyone is treated with the respect that they deserve, and there is not a ‘one policy fits all’ for my patients or clients. I mold my care plan based on my patient and owner’s needs. I am me – unapologetically.
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Dr. Abby lives with her Son, Ethan, Ray the cat, and Jazz the elderly Chihuahua in Central Iowa.