Blog

'Tis the season! From shelter fundraisers to donation drives, to pet phots with Santa, and even sharing fun ways to celebrate the holidays with your pets, there are so many ways our teams spread holiday cheer and joy this time of year.

Check out some of our favorite holiday happenings and charitable events from the VetCor family below!

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Dr. Bruce Cox, DVM, is a veterinarian and Chief of Staff at Northside Animal Hospital in Waco, Texas.

Dr. Bruce Cox and a canine friend at Northside Animal HospitalVeterinary medicine has been very good to me. High school in Waxahachie, Texas brought a great vocational agriculture teacher who stressed involvement in leadership and public speaking. I was an FFA kid.

With a love for animal agriculture, rural people, and life sciences, veterinary medicine was the career that encompassed all three. Lots of studying and football games at Texas A&M prepared the way for veterinary college. The tremendous course load was bearable through the camaraderie with my great 137 classmates.

Then I was off to Tyler, Texas to a classic fire-engine, mixed-animal practice. My first boss was a patient and hilarious man. I looked so young at 25! After a couple of weeks to orient myself to the surrounding countryside, I went on my first farm call. When I met the farmer at the pasture gate, he looked in my truck, then behind me on the county road and asked, “Son, is the doctor comin’, too?”

Thick skin is good to develop, until you earn your clients’ trust!

After five years, a beautiful Tyler wife, and one daughter later, opportunity knocked loudly. And, I bought it! My own clinic was deeper into East Texas. Off to Nacogdoches we moved. Solo practice was too hectic for mixed animal medicine; so, I became a small animal practitioner. The work was rewarding and the clients were very appreciative… especially the local comedic radio personality who showed up in full scrubs, mask, and gloves with his English bulldog for her scheduled C-section!

At the time, it was tough to get a technician or another vet to move to that part of Texas. My secretary was the anchor of the front half of the clinic for more than a decade. College kids were my helpers, and I trained art majors and aquatic biologists to prep surgeries and to hold off veins. With the clinic paid off, and I knew inside me that another change was due.

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Manage your money today to plan for tomorrow.

The everyday choices you make can help you live a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life - both at work and at home. This month’s wellbeing resource is about helping you improve your financial health.

Financial WellbeingYour financial health is your savings, retirement, and spending. Decisions you make every day have an effect on your immediate and future financial health. Here are some helpful tips to think about. 

Did you know that your physical and financial health is interconnected? Money worries can cause stress, anxiety and depression. Take a look at your financial situation. If you’re not where you need to be, make a plan to improve it. This helpful newsletter from HUB offers some great tips including online tools and smartphone apps.

Getting sick can also have major financial ramifications. Maintain your physical health to maintain your financial health. Regular check-ups, eating healthy and routine exercise can help you stay financially and physically fit. In some cases, you can even save money by visiting urgent care instead of the ER for off hour, non-critical health issues (but always err on the side of caution and got to the ER if you’re not sure.)

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This holiday season, we’re thankful for all of our practice teams and the compassionate care they provide to pets and their families each and every day. Not only do many of our team members work hard throughout the holidays to provide urgent/emergency care to patients in need, but they also go above and beyond to help pets and people in their communities in lots of other ways.

Check out some of our favorite examples of Community Connections within the VetCor family, as well as out in our practices’ local communities, from this month below!

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I was born in Odessa, Texas and moved to Abilene, Texas before I was two. I remember when I was a child, I would bring home anything that moved. I tried to help stray and injured animals and nurse babies back to health. My mom always had a yard full of animals while I was growing up. I would bring home dogs, cats, birds, and even snakes. I almost gave my mom a heart attack – she is terrified of snakes!

Cassie Linley, Hospital Manager at Abilene Veterinary ClinicNeedless to say, I always knew I wanted to work with animals. During my senior year in high school, I joined an intern class, and my teacher met with Dr. Ellis about employment at Abilene Veterinary Clinic. I went in the next day for an interview and was hired on the spot.

My entire career has been at Abilene Vet! I started in 1999 as a part-time Kennel Attendant doing the end of the day clean up. I took every opportunity to expand my knowledge and become more helpful. I moved up to Hospital Technician shortly after starting, and learned how to medicate animals and monitor animals recovering from anesthesia. I loved my hospital patients and treated them as if they were my own.

Then I cross-trained for Surgery Technician where I learned about anesthesia, dentals, x-rays, and surgical preps. I stayed in surgery from many years and was eventually promoted to Lead Technician. I helped to train my co-workers and oversaw surgery, hospital and boarding. I was promoted to Hospital Manager in 2005, and I now oversee a wonderful hospital that truly cares about the best interest of each pet and client. I work with an incredible group of dedicated staff!

Our clinic joined VetCor in March of 2016. I think it is normal to feel nervous about a transition from private practice to corporation, but I quickly learned that I now have a new family to support us and help our practice grow. VetCor worked hard to make the transition seamless and easy. They wanted to know what will help us and make our day-to-day operations easier.

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Dr. Mark E. Russo, VMD, Dipl. ACVIM, is a veterinarian and former owner at Kingston Animal Hospital in Kingston, MA.

In the business world, and in life, it’s generally prudent to generate a fair amount of cynicism or skepticism when something seems too good to be true. That being the case, it’s all the more amazing to me – and all the more do I feel blessed – to have chosen VetCor as our partner for Kingston Animal Hospital.

drs-ray-mark-russo-1952When I sold to VetCor in November 2015, the practice had been around for 68 years... founded by my father, Dr. Raymond Russo (who was still coming to work eight days before he passed away at age 93.) I started working at the hospital at about age eight as a part-time weekend and summer kennel boy (still the most fun I’ve had in veterinary medicine), and then after veterinary school for over four decades as a neurologist, general practitioner, and now, a holistic practitioner.

When my father started Kingston Animal Hospital in 1947, Kingston was a tiny coastal town with a true "small town feel." Even as the town and the region have grown to become more suburban, we have worked hard over the years to retain and perpetuate the small town feel and encourage a sense of uniqueness.

In particular, while we strongly believe in offering excellent veterinary care tailored to the clients’ preferences and capabilities, we also fervently believe in offering that care in a warm and friendly manner with lots of empathy, caring, integrity and value. We also work hard to maintain a nurturing and productive work environment for ourselves, and even have some fun at work. We try hard to remember that a significant part of the fulfillment and satisfaction in veterinary medicine comes from having a worthwhile job done well.

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National Veterinary Technician Week

VetCor has over 1,300 technicians, and we would like to take a moment recognize them this National Veterinary Technician Week for all their hard work and dedication!

Here are just some of the reasons why we love vet techs:

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Our teams are back at it again and making a difference within their communities through volunteer work, training, and doing the right thing for people and pets in need.

We take great pride in the connections made within the VetCor family, as well as out in our practices’ local communities, and are excited to share a few of our favorite moments from this September!

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While we deal with an overwhelming hurricane season, we are reminded of how important disaster planning truly is. And with September being National Preparedness Month, we wanted to sit down with some VetCor family members who’ve dealt with disasters to get their advice on protecting themselves, their staff, and patients during potential crises.

practice-plan-prepareDr. Chad Harris, Chief of Staff at North Austin Animal Hospital in Austin, TX and Vice President of the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation, says that making sure you can always communicate with your team is key. Prior to Hurricane Harvey, he reached out to all his staff and checked with them to make sure they were ready with adequate food and water, and that they had a safe place to ride out the storm.

As many pet owners were forced to evacuate before the hurricane, many of our Houston practices reached out to their clients to provide information and help them get their pets out safely before the storm hit. We are so proud of our teams for working together and on their feet during such a hectic time, to ensure the wellbeing of all the animals in their care.

Preparing your practice to withstand emergencies and disasters is also something to think about, even if you’re not in a high-risk area. Chief of Staff at Countryside Veterinary Hospital in Chelmsford, MA, Dr. Dawn Brooks, suggests keeping emergency boxes on hand. To deal with power outages, she suggests storing battery-powered camping lanterns and head lamps, extension cords, flashlights, and even construction spot lights, and checking batteries twice a year.

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Jennifer Cwiklinski is a Veterinary Technician and Client Care Specialist in Brick, NJ.

With all the good work that they do to save abandoned animals, it’s no wonder I ended up at Brick Town Veterinary Hospital in Brick, NJ a few years ago. Majik, my female black and white cat, was found on the doorstep at Bricktown Vet right after my father-in law passed away. He was a magician, so we named her in honor of him.

Jen, Vet Tech at Laurelton Veterinary Hospital in Brick, NJStanley is my male Maine coon cat mix, weighing in at 20 pounds. He was a hit by car at six months old and was also dropped off at Bricktown Vet. No one wanted him, so I took him home. He thinks he is a small dog and absolutely adores me!

My furry family also includes Benjamin Buttons, a male golden retriever (and the best part of my heart), and Penelope, a female golden that I adopted from Golden Rush Kennels in NJ. No one wanted her either because she potentially had a heart condition, so I surprise, surprise – I took her home! There is nothing wrong with her now and her condition is no more.

Caring for animals isn’t just what I do – it’s who I am. All of my knowledge comes from hands-on experience since my schooling pretty much stopped after high school. I enrolled in the local community college with hopes of becoming a teacher. I only survived two semesters before realizing it was not for me. In 2010, I enrolled in the veterinary assistant program at the Stratford Career Institute. I have learned so much and continue to learn new things every day. I am currently still doing the online course (yes, 7 years later!)

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back to vet school

At VetCor, we truly believe our motto "We hire great people. We buy great practices." Without the terrific people who make up our practice teams, including students and externs, we wouldn't have the exceptional reputation across the country that we have today.

Facilitating skill development and career growth is another one of our mantras, and an important part of our Life at VetCor program. That's why we are proud to announce the following staff members who joined us as part of our Summer Jobs and Externship programs that will be returning to veterinary school in the fall:

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Dr. Michelle Rudd is a veterinarian at Crofton Veterinary Center in Crofton, MD. She is also a wife, mother, and die-hard Washington Capitals fan.

I joined Crofton Veterinary Center as a full-time associate veterinarian in August 2014. I graduated from Kansas State University in 2000 and completed a small animal internship at VCA Veterinary Referral Center in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Dr. Rudd with her childrenI live in Howard County, MD with my husband Joe and our two children Joseph (a.k.a. Tank), who is 12-years-old (going on 30) and our 10-year-old daughter, Bryn. We have a wonderful dog named Racer-X and a sweet cat named Moon, both rescue animals from hospitals I have worked at. Recently, our son adopted a red-eared slider turtle named Bertha.

We like to spend our free time watching Washington Capitals hockey games, hiking, and playing with our animals. Bryn enjoys karate and is working on her green belt, while Tank is a wrestler for the Howard County Vipers travel team. Between practices, matches, and homework (ugh!) life can be very hectic. Everyone at Crofton Veterinary Center understands the need to practice high-quality medicine and the importance of family and life away from work. Being a VetCor hospital, we are encouraged to build our hospital in the way that allows us this balance.

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The VetCor Family continues to grow as we add six new additions to the corporate team! It is our pleasure to welcome the following:

  • Lisa Burris - Acquisition Manager, FL
  • Shaw Kaneyasu-Speck - Corporate Counsel, MA
  • Deanna Morton - Senior Accountant, MA
  • Raquel Kruse - Hiring Specialist, CHI
  • Justin Costa - Marketing Recruitment Specialist, MA
  • Kelsey Gainor - Digital Marketing Associate, MA


We are thrilled to have these awesome individuals on board. We know that they will help us to continue to provide the highest level of support and expertise our practices have come to expect from us.

We'd also like to congratulate the team members who are advancing their careers and taking on new roles:

  • Melanie Meyers - Regional Support Assistant to Regional Manager
  • Jay Mahon - Regional Support Assistant to Regional Manager
  • Debra Cirlincione - Regional Support Assistant to Regional Manager
  • Chris Rachwal - Hospital Manager to Regional Trainer

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As you know, our Life at VetCor program shows our strong commitment to each employee's professional success, personal wellbeing and company connection. Our overriding view is that if we all do the right thing in our daily actions with patients, clients, coworkers and beyond, we will collectively succeed.

Every day we're amazed at the examples of connections we've seen from our teams and out in the field! From showing employee appreciation and networking, to giving back to the community, here are some of our favorite examples of connections this month.

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I joined Fresh Pond Animal Hospital as the Hospital Manager in March 2016. My background is actually in the dental field. I felt like I needed a change, and when the opportunity arose, I know it would be something I’d enjoy because I’ve always loved animals.

Harrington with JaxinMy favorite part of coming into work every day is absolutely the staff. I’m so lucky to be able to collaborate with such a driven team and Chief of Staff who truly love what they do. I also enjoy working in the vet industry because I don’t have to deal with human health insurance companies! As a bonus, the animals that come in are a daily treat.

It's been a crazy first year, and things are going to get even more exciting as we undergo renovations on our facility. I can’t wait for us to have the increased ability to see more emergency and critical care cases. Being a VetCor hospital, you are allowed build the business the way you see fit, to your town, clients and to what you envision it to be. The staff are happy, the clients are happy, and the practice is reaching goals that haven’t been met in quite some time. The combination of employee experience, persistence, and teamwork has made these positive changes possible, and for that I’m truly grateful.

I don’t have any pets of my own right now. I’ve wanted a dog for years, but a busy schedule prevented that from happening. I hope now that I’m in this field I’ll get the opportunity to get a an Akita puppy – although my 9-year-old son, Jaxin, does keep me busy and on my toes!

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We got to sit down with Dr. Kristin Junkas, Chief of Staff at Wright Animal Hospital in Des Plaines, IL, to talk Life at VetCor, her pets, hidden talents and more.

Did you always know you wanted to be a veterinarian?
Dr. Junkas with canine friendsI have always had an interest in science and a love of nature and animals, but I didn’t initially know that I wanted to be a vet. I began as a Chemistry/Biology double major in college and spent my sophomore year summer taking Physics. I had to find a job and ended up working with a small town veterinarian over that summer and it changed my whole career aspiration. I fell in love with everything that he was doing and decided to pursue veterinary medicine. I applied to multiple schools and was accepted to Iowa State – and the rest is history!

What species of animals do you treat?
At Wright Animal Hospital, we see primarily cats and dogs, but have recently added an associate that has an interest in exotics. I’m looking forward to expanding this area within the practice! Changes are a fact of life in any medical field, and part of what keeps the job exciting and challenging. You can never get completely comfortable in a routine because we learn more about the biology of taking care of animals all the time.

How did you end up working for VetCor?
I was an associate veterinarian at the practice for eight years before the transition to VetCor, so I got to see all of those great changes as well. VetCor has provided me with the support to not only grow the practice and the overall environment for our clients and staff, but also to grow my own career. I became Chief of Staff two years later!

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