Miller opened his first clinic, Timbercrest Veterinary Service in
Atlanta, in 2003, and has done well in that area serving both
livestock clients and small animals.
The Timbercrest clinic is set up to receive large animals such as
cattle or horses, and Miller and Dr. Teal Summitt, who has recently
come on board as a second doctor in the practice, both make
on-the-farm calls as well.
When Railsplitter opens next week, their area of service is going
to be geared only to the small animals, primarily pets.
When one visits Timbercrest, the reception area is clean and
comfortable, with chairs in the waiting area, photos of the "staff
pet mascots" on the walls and a retail area at one end of the room.
Miller said the new office in Lincoln is going to have a waiting
area that has a little more of a homey feel to it. He said there
will be a fireplace and a coffee bar. They plan to use couches
instead of chairs and make the waiting area a very comfortable and
In addition, the new office will offer something special for
kids. There will be a special playroom set up like a vet exam
office, with stuffed animals, toy stethoscopes, carriers and more,
so that children can pretend they are the doctors taking care of the
Miller said that as he prepares to open Railsplitter in Lincoln,
he will begin with rotating the current staff members between the
two locations and add more staff as the business grows. Immediate
plans do include adding a pet groomer and a second certified
Miller and Pharis said that the current vet tech, Michelle
Godziebiewski, has proven to be a valuable asset to the practice,
and they look forward to adding another such tech in the near
The vet technician has a wide range of duties that include client
education, prep, monitoring and postop care for all surgical and
The Lincoln office will offer a new program that is not offered
at Timbercrest: a pet groomer. They are currently taking
applications for that part-time position and are looking for someone
who will work with both dogs and cats.
Miller said there are a lot of groomers who work with dogs, but
those who can work with cats are fewer and far between. He explained
that cats are more easily agitated and more defensive sometimes than
dogs are. Because of this, it takes a special person who can relate
to the animals and make them feel as comfortable as possible during
the grooming process.
Both offices offer a pet dietary program for weight loss. Miller
said that sometimes pet owners do things for the love of their
animal that are not necessarily good for them. One of those things
is overfeeding. Just like humans, animals can become overweight, and
bringing their weight down will offer them a longer, healthier,
happier, more active life.
In addition, Alison Pharis, the practice manager for the two
clinics, said there are plans to offer obedience training programs
for pets and pet owners.
While the Railsplitter office doesn't officially open until
Monday, there will be a special trick-or-treat day on Saturday from
8 a.m. to noon. Timbercrest in Atlanta will also have trick-or-treat
at the same time.
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Included in the morning event will be a photo session for pets in
their Halloween costumes. Pharis said the pictures will be placed on
the websites, and viewers can vote for their favorite. The winner
will be given a $20 gift card that can be spent in the retail center
of either clinic.
In addition to pets, children are also invited to come out and
trick-or-treat. Pets will be given a healthy treat, and their owners
will get some advice on how to keep their animals safe and healthy
during the holiday season.
Miller said that one of the biggest cautions he can offer is to
take care that pets do not get into the candy. He said that both
dogs and cats can suffer from chocolate toxicity, which will make
them quite ill. He also noted that the worst cases come from items
such as cocoa and baker's chocolate. The milk chocolate found in
most candies is not as harmful, but it is still advised that animals
be safeguarded by placing candy containers out of their reach.
Another special event coming up at both of the clinics is Santa
Paws. The event is scheduled for Dec. 4 from 8 a.m. to noon in
Lincoln and 1-4 p.m. in Atlanta.
Santa Claus will be on hand and there will be an opportunity for
pets to have their pictures taken by a professional photographer
while they sit on Santa's lap. The photo session is free of charge,
but both clinics will accept freewill donations for their
agriculture scholarship fund.
The scholarship fund is new to the two clinics, and Pharis said
that they hope to make their first award next year. Miller said that
the scholarships will be $500 cash awards to students who are
planning to attend college and focus on agricultural studies.
The Lincoln clinic is also planning to have the retail section
open for Black Friday shopping on the day after Thanksgiving.
The retail area carries a wide variety of items, including
carriers and kennels, collars and leashes, grooming tools and
supplies, nutritional supplements, miscellaneous pet supplies, toys,
Both locations also carry Hill's Science Diet food products that
offer special formulations geared to the specific needs of
To learn more about the retail products, the staff at Timbercrest
and Railsplitter, their services, and special events that are
planned for the future, check out their websites:
And, if there are young kids in your household who like to color,
put together picture puzzles or play computer games, be sure to
check out the
Korner on the Railsplitter website for fun, free activities.
[By NILA SMITH]
Timbercrest Veterinary Service