Turning a Passion Into a Start-Up
Those of us who have had the daunting experience of trying to get an injured and frightened 80 lb. dog or a nervous cat into a vehicle for a trip to the vet are overjoyed about Dr. Angie O’Hearn’s new visiting vet services in Casper, WY. Dr. Angie’s early interest in science and love of animals made the decision to become a veterinarian a natural choice. She vividly remembers the moment when her dad called from the vet’s office to tell her the family dog was not doing well. She quizzed him on all the details, prognosis, and treatment. That was the moment when she decided to pursue veterinary medicine.
Since graduating from Colorado State University in 2009, Dr. Angie has worked in several local veterinary clinics. Last spring, she decided to start up her own practice — The Visiting Vet. Angie’s family consists of her husband, Jason, two children aged 8 and 9, Squid, a Pit Bull Terrier, and Thornsley, a Bearded Dragon. With those personal responsibilities, combined with her drive to be a successful at mom, wife, and veterinarian, the idea of setting her own schedule was very attractive. She decided to start a mobile veterinary practice because she felt there was a compelling need in the community for this service.
Since starting up in August, she most frequently works with dogs and cats, providing wellness exams, vaccines, bloodwork and treatment for infections (skin/urinary/ear). One important service that she performs is palliative care and in-home euthanasia. Dr. Angie makes the end of the journey a less stressful experience for both the pet and the owner.
“My goal is to provide comfort until the very end for each pet,” Angie states. She is also very interested in pain management and is certified in pet acupuncture. Angie uses this procedure to help animals manage arthritis and neurologic conditions.
Angie first contacted Cindy Unger at the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network to inquire about legal requirements to start her own business. That conversation expanded, and Cindy provided her with extensive help to create her business plan, which resulted in a start-up bank loan and the realization of her dream. She also received valuable QuickBooks assistance from Wyoming SBDC Network Regional Director Rob Condie.
“I never thought I would want to be my own boss and have to deal with that aspect of Veterinary Medicine,” O’Hearn said. “Cindy was great in helping with the research, giving me contact information, and encouraging me through the process.”
To date, Dr. O’Hearn has been as busy as she wants to be. Each day is different, and she finds herself learning so much more about the people and pets she gets to meet.
“Being able to help people and animals without the stress of the car ride and the strange sounds/smells of the veterinary clinic, is tremendously rewarding,” Angie says.
The independence she has achieved by owning her own business has immensely improved Angie’s satisfaction with her chosen career. Angie states, “There are definitely challenges, such as instructing owners to help hold their animals during treatments, and cats that can hide in tiny places!”
Her hopes for the future include continuing to strengthen relationships with current clients and to grow to help new clients. Dr. Angie is also aware that, with business growth, will come the challenge of keeping true to her philosophy of fostering great relationships with owners and pets.