The Curious Life of a Mobile Veterinarian
The following is a guest post by Kelly Wright. Her bio follows.
When you picture a veterinary office, you probably imagine a classic set-up: a small building, front desk, waiting room, and exam rooms. But what if I told you that some vets prefer four wheels to four walls, and instead of a permanent address their location depends on the customer?
Welcome to the world of mobile veterinarians!
During interviews for a recent feature, True Stories: Veterinarians Share Tales of Overcoming Career Challenges, we had the pleasure of speaking to a few vets who took their expertise on the road. Here are a few of the insights they shared with us:
Seeing a pet in its own environment makes an important difference
Veterinary house calls aren’t just convenient for pet owners; in fact, Dr. Lisa Aumiller of HousePaws Mobile Veterinary Service said traveling around New Jersey and Pennsylvania to her clients’ homes actually gives her valuable insight.
“Seeing my patients and their owners in their own environment gives me a whole new understanding of their environment and lifestyle,” she explained. “Some of those sniffling bunnies that never got better on antibiotics — I now get to see their cage environment and the air quality of their house first hand. Vomiting cats? I get to assess the food and treats in their cabinets as well as the litterbox to see if they are having truly normal stools.”
Dr. Aumiller said that no matter how prepared a pet parent is, getting to see the animal’s home is always ideal.
“You can ask clients a zillion ‘correct’ questions, but nothing is as informative as seeing first-hand what is going on,” she noted.
Treating a pet at home can make heartbreaking situations a little easier
Dr. Elizabeth Carney said that her work with Peaceful Pet Passage in Pennsylvania offers a unique way to say goodbye; instead of an unfamiliar medical office, owners are able to send their beloved pets to rest from their very own homes, comforted by familiar surroundings.
“At the start of my veterinary career, I could not have imagined this is the niche in which I would be working, but now that I am doing it, I know it is my calling,” she said.
Dr. Tyler Carmack, a vet with Hampton Roads Veterinary Hospice in Virginia, recalled a very special patient named Harley. The family pet and loyal watchdog had reached the end of his battle with bone cancer. And his family hoped to end his pain without making him leave the home he’d so faithfully guarded:
“We sat around their outdoor fire pit and allowed Harley to fall asleep peacefully with his family around him. As he passed, I was able to tell his family that he was officially ‘off duty’ and finally resting comfortably, keeping an eye on everyone from dog heaven.
“They were so relieved for him that saying goodbye and thank you was another wonderful memory for them,” she said.
Treating pets at home is rewarding for the vet, too
Like any job, being a mobile vet takes its emotional toll. Especially when a large part of your responsibility is end-of-life care. But Dr. Rebecca McComas of MN Pets in Minnesota said being out of the traditional office setting is not only better for the patient and owner, ultimately it makes it more fulfilling for her, too.
“As a mobile veterinarian who travels to clients’ homes to help with euthanasia, I’ve witnessed some remarkable bonds between people and animals,” she reflected. “Many of our clients describe their animal companion as a best friend or partner. Many tell me that they grieve the loss of an animal more deeply than the loss of some humans in their lives. And I think it’s understandable, given how much time we spend with our pets.”
And while Dr. Aumiller left her job working long hours in a busy vet clinic, she said being on the road makes the time commitment a completely different experience.
“I still work before sunrise and after sunset but my days are full of scenic adventures,” she mused.
explores and celebrates the magical and mysterious bond between pets and people for Rover.com’s Animal Heroes section. Do you have an amazing story about how an animal has brought joy and wonder to your life? Please share it! Email her at email@example.com. Are you interested in working closely with animals from the comfort of YOUR own home? Consider pet sitting with Rover.com. It’s an excellent option no matter where you are!
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