It's kind of strange looking back, so many kids want to leave home and never come back; I wanted to leave home and see how fast I could start a career and get back. It took almost ten years and four states to make it happen, but the opportunity came to discuss Dr. Brown's clinic in March 2013. It all started for our clinic in the same location it all started for both Dr. Brown and I; Auburn, Alabama.
Dr. Brown was in Auburn for a vet school reunion and I was there for a conference. At the time, I was fresh out of school, working long hours in coastal Carolina, doing horses mostly. We all met on a veranda outside their hotel and discussed re opening the business. He discussed renting it for a restaurant if I were unable to return. I told him that wouldn't be necessary; we would be partners in starting up the old business. A handshake sealed it; no lawyers, no contracts, no disputes. He was my mentor and friend, he knew I would play straight with his business.
I have rarely been more excited than the day we met with Dr. Brown about re- opening the clinic. It was the first clinic I had ever been in, and for years I wondered what it would be like to be a vet there. From thirteen until the end of high school, I had shadowed Dr. Brown. I always admired that he was so much more to the community than a vet; he was the go to guy in Elkton. He was a member of the water district, health board, bank board, and Pennyrile board. Basically, if you had lights, water, money, loans, the flu, or a sick dog: Dr. Brown was somehow involved. He has always lived a life of service to his people, and I think that was a key part of what inspired my career choice from the start.
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Contractual obligations in South Carolina and the need for continued income, during the start up, made it necessary for me to work several jobs. I never regretted any of the extra jobs that I completed to help with clinic, but hopefully, there aren't many more in the future either!
We sold used cars, bartered vet bills for vegetables, and worked our tails off to turn the lights on! When our clinic opened "softly"(part time) in May, 2013, we had a vet truck with borrowed equipment, a hospital with no records, and one customer in Hopkinsville.
I bartered with a veterinarian in Pennsylvania for an old vet unit, purchased the truck, and had Junior and dad wire some lights in the hatch. The Hatchers threw in all the borrowed equipment I would need to start, and Dr. Brown gave me a desk and surgery table. It was a simple start but it was all we needed and more. We knew how blessed we were to have people that cared.
We bought old white out of a divorce situation in vet school. She was prettier back then!
I called up an Amish friend of mine who drove a semi, and he picked up the vet unit in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and delivered it to Fairview. We were in business! Our worn out SUV, ancient vet unit, and Dr. Brown's clinic were our liquid assets on day 1 of business, May, 2013.
Diploma and Dr. B's desk on day one!
to be continued!