The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Best of Madison County 2014

February 25, 2014

Tails wag at Chesterfield Animal Hospital

CHESTERFIELD, Ind. — Tails are wagging, and Chesterfield Animal Hospital is working hard to keep it that way.

“We typically see about 85 to 100 animals every day,” said Dr. Allan Baker, who established the clinic 41 years ago.

Although most of the animals are dogs and cats, CHA also gets the occasional bunny rabbit or pocket pet.

“We work hard to try to make this a place where people can get good service at an affordable price,” said Baker.

That strategy, plus a big dose of friendliness, has paid off for CHA and its furry clients throughout the years.

“When I started in 1973, I was veterinarian, office manager, cage cleaner and floor mopper,” recalled Baker.

Today, the clinic he founded has a staff of six veterinarians, including Dr. Baker, along with a critical support staff of about 17. A growing client base and changing methodologies drove a 2004 remodel that doubled the size of the clinic. Even now, Baker muses, “We may have to add on again.”

The clinic expansion entailed more than just square footage. Baker’s facility has a host of high tech pieces of equipment as well as medicines with which to treat four-legged patients. He notes drugs and technology today make it possible to treat animals for conditions that would have forced euthanization in those early days.

“It’s unbelievable change,” Baker said. “Technology is one of the biggest changes. Technology in ’73 was zero compared to what we have today. ... We used to have to diagnose just by looking, with the occasional X-ray.”

The typical CHA fare runs the gamut from preventive care like vaccinations to skin issues or digestive upsets. CHA vets also do quite a bit of surgery and dentistry.

“Just a whole myriad of things,” said Baker, who earned his credentials from Purdue University after growing up on a Pendleton farm.

CHA is one of two local veterinarian clinics upon which the Humane Society of Madison County relies. HSMC director Susie Schieve noted her organization often looks to CHA if they have an animal that’s very ill or needs emergency treatment.

“I think they are absolutely fabulous,” Schieve said. “They are extremely accommodating. They have a large, professional staff ... that are very caring.”

Just ask Sophie and Church, resident cats at CHA the staff took under their wing. Baker said there’s always been at least one animal that ended up calling CHA home. One cat, Fred, was brought in to be euthanized. “He lived here in the clinic almost 20 years.”

Veterinarians on staff with Baker include doctors Amanda Rogers, Deborah Breitenwischer, Amanda Frazier, Kerry Peterson and Brianna Fowler. Each has their own area of interest.

“They have a large range of knowledge. The veterinarians have many different areas of expertise and they will work together,” Schieve said.

Baker is clearly grateful to both clients and staff for a successful clinic and the work he enjoys.

“I have just been very blessed to have a wonderful crew. I give so much credit to them,” Baker said. He also noted, “We’ve been extremely blessed to have hundreds of good clients coming here for 40 years.”

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