Illuminated - Glasgow Barren County 2016 - Page 38

Animal Clinic has been open since 1945 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 37 meeting rooms and an operating room, the Animal Clinic is a far cry from what it was when Crouch set up his practice. Even since he started in 1991, Webb says, the practice has changed. “It has changed a bunch in 25 years,” Webb says. “When I came here in 1991, I did a lot of ambulatory work out in the country. I would go from farm to farm, treating individual cows. I might do 15 calls in a day. We had a lot of small dairies, maybe 20 to 30 cows, and those farms were diversified. They grew crops and maybe had some beef cattle. That’s not the model you see in agriculture now. It has gone more to monoculture and giant, economy-of-scale operations. So I still do the same thing, but I might go to a dairy and be there six hours. I’m dealing with the same number of animals but with fewer owners. That’s the biggest change I’ve seen.” There is a constant that can be traced back to the days of Crouch and Guilfoil. The Glasgow area continues to depend on a healthy agricultural economy. Barren County, in fact, is Kentucky’s No. 1 cattle-producing county and top milk producer. “We’re in a very vibrant agriculture economy,” Webb points out. “We have our fingers in all those pies. That’s why we have been able to make it. We have served our clients well. We have tried to serve what the animal-owning public needs.” According to one Glasgow-area dairy farmer, the Animal Clinic is doing just fine in that regaRoad Chris Kingery, who has been in the dairy business about as long as Webb has been a veterinarian, credits the clinic for helping him navigate the ups and downs of the dairy business. “Dr. Webb and Dr. Creek help me make sure every cow is producing as much as it can,” the dairyman explains. “They help me keep up-to-date with vaccinations, and I know I can call on them anytime I need them.” Those vaccinations are important, and they are another example of how the business has changed over the years. Rather than treating diseased animals, Webb explains, the clinic now aims for prevention of diseases. “We have gotten much better at prevention,” he says. “We went through a treatment phase, then we learned that what you really need to do is keep that from happening. We vaccinate and manage feed so we don’t have disease outbreaks. That’s very satisfying. Instead of putting the fire out, we don’t let the fire get started.” While Webb and Creek spend a good deal of their time on the vaccinations and other services required by farmers, the clinic doesn’t neglect the small-animal owners in and around Glasgow. Dr. Owsley spends a good deal of time treating small animals, and Webb says the clinic takes seriously its commitment to keeping people’s pets healthy. In fact, he says about half the clinic’s business is with small animals. Receptionist Lois Kidd, who has been with the clinic for 26 years, has seen growth in the small-animal business, and she finds a lot of satisfaction in dealing with those clients. “We have a dog here now that’s very sick,” she explains. “It’s rewarding to help that animal return to health. I enjoy talking to the clients and educating them. That’s part of our service.” Service, in fact, is the clinic’s business according to Dr. Webb. “Being a part of the community and helping people, that’s really what we do,” he says. “We help people by helping their animals. That human-animal bond can be very important.” It’s hard to pin down the Animal Clinic’s business model because, as Webb says: 38 Glasgow-Barren County, Kentucky: Illuminated “We do everything. That’s kind of a dinosaur business model in veterinary medicine, but that’s how veterinary medicine works in rural communities. We do dogs and cats and birds and also go out and do dairy cows and beef cows and horses. We like that. We like the variety because you don’t get bogged down in doing the same thing. There’s always something different.” If he’s ever in danger of getting caught in a routine, Webb can count on his customers to provide something out-of-the-ordinary. Like that ostrich or that sinkhole-entrapped horse. The ostrich, it seems, was being transported from Texas by a Barren County farmer who discovered the broken wing late at night. “I got a call around 10 at night,” Webb recalls. “The guy said he had an ostrich with a broken wing and wanted to know if I could fix it. I’m thinking, ‘Ostriches can’t fly anyway’. I told him I could fix it. We walked him in the front door of the clinic, and I put a gas mask on him and laid him on the floor. I put a plate and screws in that wing. He healed up and did fine.” The karst landscape around Barren County has provided some more variety for Webb and his staff. He spent hours figuring out how to extricate a horse from a sinkhole, finally enlisting machinery to get the job done. “That wasn’t a lot of fun,” he says. “Another time, I lost a good pocketknife getting a cow out of a sinkhole.” Such inconveniences are part of the clinic’s role in the community, Webb believes. “We enjoy being part of the community, that’s the biggest thing,” the clinic owner says. “People trust you. We take that trust seriously.” F