Jennifer Eachus was set on the path to becoming a veterinarian when she was 14 years old. “I was thinking about my future,” she says, “and went to my mom and told her I wanted to become a lawyer.”
Eachus’ mom told her she would be an awful lawyer. “You should be a vet,” she told her daughter. To help that conviction along, Eachus’ mom took her to a veterinary hospital and got her signed up as a volunteer.
“I haven’t worked in any other field since,” says Dr. Eachus. “Every job I’ve had since that age has been animal-related.”
Becoming the vet you want to be, says Eachus, is a process. “You get out of vet school with your degree and knowledge, but you have very little experience, you don’t know what you’re best at yet, where your focus should be. You face your first patient and all of a sudden you have this huge responsibility.”
Eachus recalls her first surgery as a vet. “I had my gown and gloves and mask on and my colleague said, ‘Are you okay?’ I said, “Yes, why?’ She said, ‘Because your mask is on backwards.’”
“I was not okay. I was terrified,” says Eachus. “But my colleague said, ‘We’re going in together.’”
One of the things Eachus says she likes about veterinary medicine, besides the animals, is the camaraderie among vets. “There’s not as much competition among vets as in other professions. We’re usually willing to consult one another if we need input and most of us are willing to share our experience with each other. Even today, I feel I could call any of my teachers from vet school for input.”
Since those early days, Eachus has worked at vet clinics and owned a clinic for ten years. She started her life as an animal lover in Cape Cod, Mass., went to vet school in North Carolina, lived in Texas for a while and now lives in Walker County. She has also learned what is most important to her as a vet.
“I want to make vet care more affordable, more personal and less stressful for pets and owners,” says Eachus.
To that end, Eachus has started a house call veterinary practice, Healthy Pets Mobile Veterinary Services, for dogs and cats.
The timing for it is perfect. Eachus says she’s talked to many people who have been distraught over how COVID-19 has affected their vet experiences. “People have to wait in their cars while their pets are taken inside and examined and sometimes treated without their presence and without their ability to interact with the vet.
“A lot of pets are stressed by going to the vet under any circumstances, which can make their health issues worse,” says Eachus. “Cats usually hate to ride in cars. Some animals don’t do well having to sit in waiting rooms for long periods of time. People who have multiple pets benefit from house calls.”
Eachus says house calls also work well for people who can’t drive, who have disabilities or whose animals have special needs.
Eachus says a house call practice also frees her to completely focus on the animals she’s there to see and not worry about a line of people on the other side of the door. “I space my appointments so I have plenty of time with each client.”
“This is my niche, providing affordable, personal care for cats and dogs in a setting that is comfortable and nurturing for the animals and their people,” says Eachus. “People really appreciate what you do when you’re trying to do what’s best for their pets.”
One of Eachus’ clients left this comment on her Healthy Pets Facebook page: “I just cannot say enough good things about the mobile vet clinic. There is hardly any stress, my animals are comfortable in our home and she (Dr. Eachus) loves each one.”