Unlike humans, most pets seem to be in perpetually good moods. They're ecstatic when you arrive home from work, are always ready to play and enjoy keeping you company whether you're cooking dinner ...View Article
A life-long love of animals helped Nancy Schenck decide to become a veterinarian.
"I started working with a veterinarian clinic in junior high school. I walked the dogs, took care of them and developed a love of animals," Schenck said. "I graduated in 1990 from University of Florida Veterinary School."
She met her husband, an Indiana boy, while attending college and the couple moved to the Seelyville area to raise a family.
"We would come over to Brazil a lot to eat dinner when our children were young," she said. "I like Brazil. It's such a warm and welcoming place. I'm really happy to be here and to be a part of Four Loving Paws. The staff here is very compassionate for the animals and for the pet owners."
The atmosphere of the facility, located at 965 W. Craig Ave., is like walking into someone's comfortable living room. Clinic cats roam freely interacting with both human and animal visitors. Schenck said it is meant to be a soothing place.
"There's even coffee and water out there," she said. "It minimizes stress."
Animals, according to Schenck, are able to strongly bond with people and pick up on their emotions.
"I don't know if they have the same thought processes like we do," she said. "But I do know they connect, and they can feel our emotions. They can bond at a deeper level, sometimes more than people do with other people."
Schenck understands that taking a "member of the family" to see a vet can be very stressful.
"I've been in the same situations they are facing as a pet owner," said Schenck, who raises and shows flat-coated retrievers. "I like to think of myself as part of the team players that helps take care of an animal's life. We're in a three-way partnership, the family, the pet and myself, we're all working to make sure the pet has a happy and healthy life. My favorite part of the job is helping to enrich the bond, the relationship between the pet and the owner so that it is a long, happy one."
The hardest part comes when the treatment to help a sick animal is either too expensive for a family to afford or just not available.
"It's so hard to see an owner spend 15 years with their pet and then have to deal with something out of their control and have to make a decision," she said. "I've had to make those decisions myself. It's not easy. It tears at them trying to figure out what is right one way or the other."
Schenck said she tries to be compassionate and help in these difficult situations as much as possible, but, "ultimately it's their choice."
To help pet owners take care of their animals, Schenck provides a simple tip.
"Spend time with your pet and get to know them. Welcome their interaction in your daily life," she said. "There are many things pet owners can do that don't cost a lot of money to help avoid disease, like maintaining good nutrition and proper exercise."
Involved pet owners know when something is not right. Schenck said a pet that is just left alone and not involved in family life has an owner who is not going to recognize something is wrong until it is probably too late.
"I respect an owner's opinion about their pet. They know their pet better than anyone, and I believe that," Schenck said. "Just enjoy your pets. Enjoy that they are a part of your life."