TROY - Transporting a pet to the vet can be difficult and stressful - hauling the cage, minimizing messes and placating family members, especially those grief-stricken over a sick animal. Not to mention a clinic environment can be unnerving for all parties involved.
Amy Walker's business Pawsitive Veterinary Healthcare is a mobile veterinary operation offering services including comprehensive physical examinations, vaccinations, orthopedic exams, pain management and "pawspice" - hospice for pets - among a variety of other services. Since 2003, when she graduated from veterinary school at Ross University, Walker has been making house calls for her business that has now grown to about 200 clients, mostly through word-of-mouth.
"Pretty much anything you can do in an office setting, I can do, except surgery or radiology," Walker said, adding that she does, however, perform at-home neutering. In addition to conducting house calls from about 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., she also works three to four days a week as the lead doctor at Banfield Pet Hospital's Dayton Mall location.
On Wednesday afternoon, Walker stopped at the home of Rita Pickering in Pleasant Hill, who has used Walker's services for six years. Pickering has five cats and an Australian Shepherd named Stevie.
Many veterinary services are conducted more comfortably at home, and particularly when needing to euthanize a beloved pet, seem less upsetting. Simply not having to travel is a plus, Pickering added.
"If a pet can't travel well, and that's Stevie - can't go anywhere, she's a convenient person to have around," Pickering said of the veterinarian. Melissa Nichols of Troy sought out Walker's services after she saw an ad about three months ago, when her 14-year-old dog was ill.
"For me, if the regular vet wouldn't make house calls, it was the only option I was going to consider," Nichols said, adding that Walker euthanized her dog at home. "It was very calm, even though it was very sad. And the other pets got to say goodbye."
Walker, a Troy resident with four cats, began making house calls in 2003, when she graduated from veterinary school. She cares for dogs, cats, birds, guinea pigs, bearded dragons, snakes and more - even exotics. In the past she cared for horses, too.
She began in human medicine but switched to veterinary medicine, after she became disconcerted with the insurance industry.
"It wasn't medical teams and patients making decisions; it was the insurance companies and bureaucracies," Walker explained. "I wanted to be part of something where families could choose their options and make decisions. I'd rather be a partner and help them make decisions."
Walker charges $35 for house calls - regardless of the number of pets - with an additional cost per mile outside Troy.
For more information, visit pawsitiveveterinaryhealthcare.com.