Dear Clients, Friends, and Family of The Welcome Waggin’,
In 1995, I started vet school to pursue my dream of helping animals, all the furry, scaly, slimy, and feathered creatures that moved. I wanted to educate pet owners, children, and the public at large, sharing knowledge and experience to better the lives of all living things. Never did I think that I would have the incredibly great fortune to start my own practice in 2007. The Welcome Waggin’ Mobile Veterinary Service was built with love, tireless dedication, and the goal of serving pets and their families on an intimate level on kitchen floors, couches, and in backyards. Selfishly, I wanted dogs and cats to wag their tails in anticipation of visiting with their veterinarian, not cower under a waiting room chair or retreat to the dark corners of a carrier.
Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with clients who have become friends and touch the lives of countless critters. I’ve said goodbye to grey-muzzled dogs I once welcomed home as bounding puppies alongside their ecstatic new owners. I’ve cried with pet parents while they stroked the soft fur of their kitty diagnosed with end-stage kidney disease. The Welcome Waggin’ was built with and for all of you and could not have existed without the loyalty and devotion of Sarah Salazar, Christy Millett, Dr. Tiffany Leach, Dr. Jeni Waeltz, and my incredibly supportive family. I’m so proud of the team and culture we created. The ability to attract like-minded veterinary professionals, compassionate to the core, is a legacy I am thrilled will endure.
With our relocation to Tampa, Florida in 2019, it has become evident that our Welcome Waggin’ family will be best served with a leader located in Illinois. I will continue to schedule appointments when I am in Chicago and support the new owner at every turn. As many of you know, I have a wonderful network of family and friends in Naperville; I intend to return often and am hopeful to connect professionally and personally with all of you. With that, I give you my successor, Dr. Jeni Waeltz!
Hello all! I have been an animal lover since I was a kid. My childhood cat was named Snowball and he was able to bless my heart for over 20 years! He was there for me as a young kid navigating childhood. He was there for me during all those unnerving middle school and high school years, comforting me when I experienced my first breakup. And then there were the 6 years he stayed home while I went off to college at Purdue University and eventually started vet school there.
When he was 18 years old and his health was failing, I decided it was time for him to live with me again and I moved him into my college apartment. With the help of the amazing veterinarians at Purdue, we managed his failing heart and kidney disease for 2 ½ years. Sadly, one month after finishing vet school, his health had declined so rapidly, I knew it was time to say goodbye. I hadn’t even started my first vet job, and I had to make that difficult appointment with a colleague. It was June 2011. I remember staying home with him all day, and then that evening taking the car ride to the vet clinic. It was a terrible experience as he got sick all over on the way to my friend’s clinic. His final moments were peaceful, but I was shaken by the whole experience and that terrible car ride. At-home euthanasia services were still in their infancy. Although The Welcome Waggin’ was already in service, I was living and starting to practice in central Illinois where such services were not being offered. Oh, the experience we could have had saying our goodbyes to my best friend, Snowball.
Fast forward 9 years later, and I’ve been on a journey to become the best veterinarian I can become. Along the way, I developed many passions such as preventative care, managing chronic internal medical diseases such as diabetic management, and GI diseases, to dermatology, and to geriatric care. Eventually, my passions turned to the development of people and I left clinical practice for a few years to do recruiting for two large veterinary corporations. That led me to become a certified compassion fatigue professional and a professional coach. You see, the veterinary profession has been struggling with burnout, compassion fatigue, and increased risk of suicide. After hiring 100s of doctors and learning their stories, I developed a strong desire to support others on their journeys in finding sustainable lives and careers, especially for working women.
Eventually, my career path came full circle as I started a life and leadership coaching business this past fall for women struggling to be and do it all in today’s society. I also started working part-time at The Welcome Waggin’. Here I finally felt at home within this veterinary profession. The personal fulfillment and satisfaction that comes from being invited into each and every one of your houses to care for your family members is such an honor I can’t even begin to describe. Every day I come to work, I am filled with a sense of joy and excitement as I get to meet and play with your healthy pets and make sure they are staying safe and well with their preventative appointments. I just love talking with you about how to treat those pesky ear infections and tame that itchy skin. And as your pets age, I love taking the time to explain those chronic diseases and make sure we get as many happy years or months we can with your beloved family members. And yes, it is an honor to be there as you say goodbye to your best friend, knowing I can give you a gift my Snowball didn’t get.
When Lisa and I started talking about potential transfer of ownership of The Welcome Waggin’ I knew my dream of becoming an owner of a veterinary practice was finally going to come true. I’ve spent the past 10 years learning everything I could to make my patients feel comfortable and calm while under my care. And I’m excited to bring my coaching expertise to develop even more programs within The Welcome Waggin’, that can also help comfort you if the grieving process of losing your best friend is too difficult to bear alone.
So now it is with gratitude that I reflect on the past and remember my Snowball. His memory will be kept alive as I pay it forward to make sure none of your pets have to experience that terrible last car ride, and instead, can pass away peacefully in their own homes.
It is with hope that I can look to the future and think of my two little girls as potential future vets, knowing that The Welcome Waggin’ is providing non-traditional career path options for veterinary professionals as a way to end burnout and diminished well-being.
And it is finally with excitement, as I stay in this present moment as the new owner and leader of The Welcome Waggin’, that I promise to foster a team culture that will continue to celebrate life and the human-animal bond by delivering exceptional veterinary care in the comfort of all your homes.
Dr. Lisa McIntyre and Dr. Jeni Waeltz