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Meet Dr. Lisa McIntyre of The Welcome Waggin’ Mobile Veterinary Service

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Lisa McIntyre.

Dr. McIntyre, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I grew up in a family of veterinarians; my uncle, Dr. Lester Fisher, was the director of Lincoln Park Zoo for 30 years and a cousin was the medical director of VCA Berwyn, a large small animal referral center. From a very young age, I knew I wanted to be a vet. We found an essay I wrote as an 11 year old stating my desire to study veterinary medicine, and though I have other hobbies, the pursuit of my goal never wavered. I was accepted into the Honors Biology program at the University of Illinois and after 3 years of study, went on to veterinary school. After 4 years in the University of Illinois’ program, I graduated second in my class.

My husband and I moved back to Chicago where I took a position at Blum Animal Hospital, a fast-paced small animal clinic that has been part of the Lakeview community since 1952. I became pregnant – “SURPRISE”, twins! And we moved back to my hometown of Naperville to be near family. I joined Green Trails Animal Clinic and after 5 years, went on to have my third son.

At that point, I decided to pursue veterinary relief work so that I could be available for my family’s needs, first and foremost. With a flexible schedule perfectly suited to raising children, I had the opportunity to work at multiple clinics throughout Chicagoland. It was at one of these clinics that I met a house call veterinarian whose territory included the far West suburbs. After 6 years of mobile practice, he was no longer accepting new clients and explained how much he enjoyed the personal relationships he had developed with both people and pets while in their homes. He felt there was a need not being met, and the opportunity to start a new practice existed.

While the typical small animal veterinarian’s schedule doesn’t allow time to make house calls, during my tenure as a relief vet, a technician and I would attend to senior citizens’ pets’ needs over our lunch hour; administering fluids to cats in renal failure, allergy injections, and performing examinations and nail trims.

I found that the connection and collaboration I was able to achieve with clients, the ease and thoroughness with which exams were performed, and the individualized, holistic care I was able to provide was incredibly rewarding. In 2007, I decided to start The Welcome Waggin’ and service pets’ in their home full time.

We have continued to grow as word of our service spread, mostly by personal and professional referrals. Out of our vans, we are able to cover up to a 100 miles a day, seeing families with multiple pets, anxious travelers, and performing hospice for our geriatric and terminal patients. Many of our clients I would call friends, and I believe I can best honor the oath we took as veterinarians to support the human-animal bond, serve the community and promote animal welfare in this capacity.

Has it been a smooth road?
I started the practice in part to have flexibility with my schedule. However, when you own your own business and are responsible, compassionate and dedicated to your patients as well as have the desire to make your practice a success, setting boundaries can be difficult. I found myself agreeing to see patients at all hours, and sometimes the ring of my home doorbell would cause me to duck and cover. Over the years and with practice growth, I know when to shut the phone off, or which clients need extra hand-holding. Rarely do people take advantage of kindness, but it happens.

Initially, it was also challenging to determine what services could be provided in-home, vs. referring to a brick and mortar clinic or specialty center. In the end, it is important you know cannot do all things well and to keep the animal’s well-being your top priority. Telemedicine, portable ultrasound, smart phones, tablets, text and video have also enabled us to provide more complete care as the years have gone by.

I would also add that technology can be a hindrance. Dr. Google and social media can be the bane of many practitioners’ existence.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Our goal is to provide exceptional care and service in your pet’s home environment. By minimizing the stress of travel, reducing the likelihood of disease transmission, and observing a pet in its natural surroundings, we are able to help maintain optimal health and well-being. Home veterinary care is ideally suited for working professionals, busy parents, multiple pet owners, the elderly or disabled, and owners of animals that become anxious in a hospital setting.

We are relationship builders and believe in progressive, collaborative, holistic care. We pride ourselves on our compassion and expertise and experience in handling pets of all personality types with gentleness and ease. They are relatively few in-home providers that see pets of all ages and can offer everything from preventative care to end-of-life services, which we do regularly.

I am most proud of the care we have provided to animals that may not have otherwise received it. We have had owners thank us for extending a pet’s quality of life by offering pain relief, or attending to a feral cat who would not have been able to be treated for a skin infection. Senior citizens have not had to sacrifice the relationship with their pet because they no longer drive. We have been most touched by those whose animals we have helped assist to pass. A gentle death and peaceful transition is truly a gift, and we have experienced an outpouring of gratitude from hundreds of families through the years.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Our clientele come from all walks of life. Chicago and the suburbs support many animal-centric businesses and diverse communities. We are finding more pet-friendly restaurants, animal-based meet up groups, rescue organizations, and kind-hearted people that all treat their pets as family members. And want what is best for their best friend. Even though we’ve seen some times of economic hardship, the pet industry has continued to grow. I support more pet-friendly parks, trails, and allowing animals on some modes of public transportation.

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

4 Comments

  1. Ellen Wolff

    July 12, 2017 at 12:30 am

    Loved this article. Dr. McIntyre truly cares for animals.

  2. Ellen Wolff

    July 12, 2017 at 12:31 am

    Loved this article. Dr. McIntyre and her staff are the best!

  3. Sue J.

    July 12, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    Dr. McIntyre is a superior veterinarian, caring for our animals for many yesterday years. We can’t recommend her enough!

  4. Cheryl Holz

    July 18, 2017 at 11:10 am

    That’s our vet! We love them for their dedication and support!!

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