John and Anette Heaslet own and run Lithia Springs Veterinary Care. Together they have been involved with and caring for animals for over nine years. We decided to catch up with them to learn a little bit more about the care and attention that goes into their work.
John, Anette, Thanks for doing this interview with us… you guys must really love animals… tell us more!
Can you share with me a little bit about how you first were introduced to caring for animals and how this eventually led to Lithia Springs Veterinary Care?
I worked as a field engineer in Santa Barbara before Anette and I pooled our talents and resources to open Lithia Springs Veterinary Care. I love the fact that people and animals lives are intertwined, and being a part relieving suffering and helping enhance these bonds is wonderfully fulfilling. I didn’t get that feeling with my old career. I’ve never regretted this decision. I suppose I was also influenced when Anette looked at me one morning as said she wanted her own clinic. I could never say no to those beautiful eyes.
What were some of your inspirations and hopes for becoming a veterinarian.
At age ten I was living on a huge old farm in Denmark where we cared for hundreds of animals. I remember one night, a veterinarian came to see a sick horse. He recommended euthanasia. My mother refused. My mother and I worked all night and the horse made a full recovery. This is the type of thing that inspires me.
Anette’s a veterinarian? I thought she said “vegetarian.”
When you both first started practicing, what was a real life surprise of running a clinic?
The most important and harsh thing I learned was to be sure to hire people who share our passion and welfare for animals, share what we stand for and respect the work we do.
We have a most incredible, talented, passionate and caring team with us today.
How has working in a small community helped you get to know and build relationships with your customers?
John: Many of our customers have become our friends. It keeps us on our toes. This is such a wonderful, tight knit community, we see our customers as our neighbors – which they are. We love it.
What’s the most common issue that people bring there pets in to see you with:
In cats we see a lot of fighting wounds that often become infected. Urinary problems are also common.
We see many patients for arthritis and other mobility problems. I find treating these especially rewarding because the results are so noticeable.
Most interesting situation you have ever cared for?
It’s the things that I remove from these patients that I find interesting. The growing list includes cell phones, television cables, a door stop and diamond earrings. The only thing I haven’t found is homework!
Best pet to have and age to get a pet for your child?
I think the responsibility of caring for a pet falls on the whole family. A pet will suffer in just one day without water, or left out in the cold. A child is never to young to be exposed to pets, and a child will often need to be taught to respect their pet. A consideration would be to get them an easier pet to care for in the beginning, such as a rat or guinea pig. Keep in mind that dogs and cats often live for over 15 years, so when your baby leaves for college, the parents are left to assume full care of Fido.
Thoughts on Cesar Millan “The Dog Whisperer” ?
We don’t often get to watch animal shows, but I’ve heard good things about Cesar, so if he drops his Resume off at the office, it will be considered.
5 best pet names you have ever heard?
Dug, Hairy, MegaBite, Purr-minator, Your Royal Highness
I also like the two whippets named Frank and Beans!
Share a recent success story with us?
I love helping older pets be comfortable. Recently I treated a new patient who came limping painfully into our office. When he returned last week he bounded into the room, comfortable once again. That made my day.
What’s the most important issue for us as a community to be aware of in having and taking care of pets and animals?
Wow. That is a big question. The biggest issue for any community is to simply know that there is a sad equation that takes place every day. Each week, people breed animals for profit while Jackson County Animal Control kills animals because of over-population. This heartbreaking cycle can be broken as more people choose to get their new pet from a rescue group such as FOTAS, C.A.T.S., Southern Oregon Humane Society, Dogs for the Deaf, or Petfinder, which is on the internet. There are also “Breed Specific” rescue groups if you have your heart set on a certain type of animal.
Sometimes choosing the right pet can make the care much easier.
There is a huge difference in the personality and needs of different breeds. Getting a pet that is a personality and lifestyle match is most important.
Also it’s good to be prepared for a few challenges. A new puppy may feel like your carpet is a splendid place to pee, and your new cat may decide your slippers need to be attacked… while you’re still wearing them.
Lithia Springs Veterinary Care
1756 Ashland Street
Ashland, OR 97520