15 Sep 2014
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Dogtor Calls Takes Pet Care on the Road

Veterinarians go doggone mobile with new business in Novato.

Dr. Kelley McNair is truly a hometown girl, born and raised. Her furthest venture from Novato was when she went off to veterinary school. Despite that desire to stay close to home, McNair has now taken her veterinarian practice on the road with one associate, Dr. Doug Evans.  

After 14 years working at a nearby veterinary office called the Country Vet, McNair has recently fulfilled her dream of striking out on her own.  Dogtor Calls is the new mobile vet practice the two launched in September. Since then, their practice has fielded calls from Santa Rosa to Larkspur and everywhere in between. 

McNair’s clientele continues to grow.

“About half of my patients are clients that I’ve provided care for in the past," McNair says. "They’ve heard about the new venture and have sought me out.”

She says that the other half of her customer base has come from either referrals or folks that have just seen the van (or coach as they prefer to call it) on the road. 

Decked out with graphics of a golden retriever and a housecat, the coach is hard to miss. The size of a small bus, it's a full-service hospital on wheels equipped with an X-ray machine, a laboratory, an operating room and kennel space. It's everything a pet owner might need coming right to your door.  

Adorning the coach with golden retriever graphics turned out to be a good omen. The first surgery conducted in the mobile vet hospital turned out to be for a golden that ate a ball. McNair has two goldens herself. 

The coach splits time at clients' homes and parked on Atherton Avenue on Novato's rural east side. However, the practice's mobility has enabled the doctors to provide the services that others cannot.  

McNair tells the story of two ladies in their late 70s who called Dogtor Calls  because their 165-pound Newfoundland, named Herc, fell down a hill outside their home. They said their dog could not get up and their regular vet suggested that they call Dogtor Calls. The dog was given a sedative and later treated with a form of chiropractic care that set him back on the path to recovery. After a few follow-up visits, Herc was soon greeting the vets in the coach under his own power.

“I am also able to spend more time with my patients and their owners,” McNair says.

McNair knows many of her clients. She grew up attending Loma Verde Elementary, San Jose Middle School and Novato High School before getting her degrees at Stanislaus State and UC Davis.

"I've known since I was 8 years old that I was going to be a vet," she says. "Thank goodness I succeeded because I had no backup plan — there was nothing else I wanted to do." 

She still lives in Novato with her husband and their furry family — two golden retrievers, Kamdyn & Kaydyn; a Bengal cat, Jaycey; Iddy Miss Min Chin, the chinchilla; Kodi, a "little old lady pony"; and Kiowa's Tohono Tomahawk (Tommy), the paint Mustang. 

Barely past their third month in operation as Dogtor Calls, McNair and Evans — who just works on Wednesdays and Saturdays — announced that they had celebrated their 299th client on Dec. 1.  

Dogtor Calls is open six days a week and primarily treats dogs, cats and some “pocket pets” such as hamsters and mice. Check out their  Facebook page.

Do you know of a new business opening or business anniversary around town? We want to know! Please contact Tom at tomnovatopatch@gmail.com with all your business tips.

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