The Milwaukee vet has always loved animals. Now she is going to their house.

As far back as she can remember, Rebecca Feiring, 39, has loved spending time with animals.

Choosing a profession that involved them was obvious.

But the way she spends time with them sets her apart.

Feiring was four years after vet school and working at a clinic in Milwaukee when she decided to make a change inspired by her childhood.

“It was my first job after vet school and I had been there for several years and was really sick of feeling rushed all the time,” she said. “The clinic administrators didn’t really care much else except how many patients you could see in a day. ”

And so, in 2015, Feiring decided to leave the clinic and continue home visits instead, which is quite unusual in the field. Feiring explains on her website that she wanted an environment in which “extra time could be taken with patients and owners in a quieter setting, with an emphasis on low stress management.” Over time, Happy at Home Veterinary Care was born, giving him the opportunity to work at his own pace.

“I knew there were vets doing house calls, but I didn’t know much about them,” she said. “I just thought it was something that would allow me to spend more time with my patients and not be in such a rush. Eventually, I decided to take the plunge and give it a try.”

The inspiration for the home visits comes from the series “All Creatures Great and Small” written under the pseudonym James Herriot. Feiring to appreciate the series as a child and to this day thinks about its similarities to the main character, who has made house calls, lived in the UK and has established unique relationships with animals and customers.

“I already knew I wanted to be a vet by the time I read these books,” she said.

Feiring began home visits, bringing everything she needed to control and treat the animals, including giving them the necessary vaccines. Personalized individual care allows Feiring to examine animals in a quieter setting, compared to a clinic visit. Home visits benefit his clientele who appear anxious or aggressive, as one of Feiring’s primary goals is animal behavior.

His business took on a whole new dimension when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Unlike a clinic, Feiring allowed her clients to be near patients while she examined them.

“What I ended up doing during the warmer months, actually for dogs in particular, was a lot of going outside or in people’s garages with everyone wearing masks,” he said. she declared.

“You never feel rushed”

Randy Nelson, 57, and Mark Beske, 54, met Feiring when she first worked at the clinic. Their dog Thomas, a springer spaniel, was aggressive and had been abused in the past. Thomas never enjoyed clinic visits.

“When we first met Dr Feiring, even before we brought Thomas in, she wanted to have a consultation with us,” Beske said. “It was to understand what Thomas’ issues were, how she would treat them in the clinic, and what we could do to help prepare Thomas for a vet appointment.”

Feiring recommended that Thomas enter the clinic before it opens, so that there are minimal animals and people.

“It meant a lot to us compared to previous experiences in the other vet clinic,” said Beske. “She takes her time, you never feel rushed, and if a dog is stressed, she takes the extra time to make sure there are no negative effects during the observation.”

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Nelson and Beske have since followed her to Happy at Home Veterinary Care.

“When she got home she even said she couldn’t believe it was the same dog,” Nelson said. “It was so much better for someone to come into his own environment than to take him somewhere he didn’t want to be.”

Surrounded by animals at home too

During Feiring’s childhood, the idea of ​​becoming a veterinarian solidified when she became interested in helping cats or dogs in need.

“Ever since I was very young, I have always loved animals and loved spending time with them,” she said. “It was around the age of seven or eight that I decided with certainty that I wanted to be a vet.”

In 2004, Feiring graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in psychology. After studying abroad in Scotland in her first year, Feiring fell in love with the country and its culture. She decided to return home and attend the School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh.

“I felt ready for a change from Madison and this is endorsed by the American Vet Association, which means if you graduated from a school there, the states consider it equivalent to schools here,” a- she declared.

According to Feiring, UK veterinary schools have a better track record when it comes to animal welfare. She also didn’t want to go to a “terminal surgery” school, where animals used for training are euthanized rather than recovered. The practice, more common at the time, has now been virtually eliminated.

She graduated in 2009 and returned to Milwaukee, working as a small animal practitioner.

Feiring with his horse, Ladybug.  Ladybug was rescued by Feiring three years ago from a kill-pen in Pennsylvania.

Unsurprisingly, Feiring’s experience with animals goes beyond his practice.

At home, he lives with rescued pets – a cat, Zorro, and a dog, Sheba. Feiring has rescued and rehoused many animals over the years, including his horse, Ladybug, who was rescued three years ago from a slaughter pen in Pennsylvania.

“Through my network, I found out about its existence,” she said.

Feiring first attempted to find a new home in Ladybug, but was unsuccessful.

“It happened to the wire where she was basically going to be shipped to the slaughterhouse the next day, so I said I would take her,” she said. “I had it shipped from Pennsylvania to me here in Wisconsin, pretty much invisible and took it from there.”

She continues to have what she has described as “a huge soft spot” for older and special needs pets.

About this feature

Each week we will profile the difference makers in our community. Some may be journalists; some may be unsung heroes. We will tell them about their motivations and their life journey, and in doing so, we will weave a portrait of what it is like to live in this place, at this time. If you have any topic suggestions, please send them to [email protected] We would love to hear from you.

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