Veterinarian Tammy Kennedy gives Bandit, an 8-year-old schnauzer, a shot during a checkup while Kennedy's husband, Bud, keeps the animal still.Kennedy
operates Best Friends Vet, a mobile vet clinic that makes house calls in the Jonesboro area.
by mark randall
JONESBORO â€" Tammy Kennedy
was a little skeptical at first about the idea of making house calls.
In the old days, "horse doctors," as they were called, were part of the fabric of country living.Veterinarians often would make trips to farms to check on the family cow or stable of horses.Like deliveries from the milkman, house calls have mostly gone the way of the dinosaur.
But when Kennedy
husband Bud, a professor of animal science at Arkansas State University
, began researching a mobile veterinary clinic for Jonesboro, they discovered that the service was actually a lot more common in some states than they thought.
"It's done a lot in other states like Texas, Florida and California," Kennedy
said."It's just not been done here with small animals."Kennedy, who has been a veterinarian in Jonesboro for 13 years, started Best Friends Vet Mobile Service in October 2006.
The practice specializes in providing in-home veterinary care primarily to dogs and cats in the Jonesboro area, but she
will travel to surrounding communities.
"I like to stay in Jonesboro," Kennedy
said."But we do go to the surrounding area.I will charge an additional fee if I go outside Jonebsoro.But within the city limits I don't charge an additional house call fee with an exam or vaccinations."Kennedy
said they have all kinds of clients, but the service has been especially helpful to elderly and handicapped pet owners and for those who have multiple pets or young children for which making a trip to a clinic can be an inconvenience.
Most of the time and money spent on procedures at veterinary clinics to keep pets healthy can be performed in the convenience of a pet owner's home, she
said.In fact, an in-home visit is often a lot less stressful on the animal.
"The animals are a lot more laid back," Kennedy
"It's actually a stackable Stanley tool chest," Kennedy
said the mobile service seems to be catching on.Since starting the practice a year ago, more than 200 clients have had her
come to their homes to treat their pets.
"At first they are like â€˜you're going to come to my house?'" Kennedy
said."But they have been very receptive to it.It's growing.Every week we get new calls.It's just a convenience for them not to have to drive to the clinic."
Having a mobile clinic has also allowed Kennedy
to spend more time with her
started the mobile service so she
could home-school the couple's youngest daughter, Claire, who has dyslexia, and still be able to continue practicing veterinary medicine on a part-time basis.
Kennedy home-schools Claire in the mornings and sees clients in the afternoons, evenings and on Saturdays.
"That's definitely an advantage," Kennedy