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The veterinarian is in ... your home

With three years under her white coat as an associate at a small animal practice in upstate New York, Dr. Isadora Marion ’07 came to believe that the traditional model for veterinary care might not satisfy all needs. After having personally witnessed dogs cowering in corners, geriatric patients with failing hips sliding on slippery floors, and cats clamoring for freedom, she decided to explore a more patient-centered approach.

“I wanted to provide an alternative for those who wanted high-quality care for their pets, but who had difficulty getting to a veterinarian’s office,” said Dr. Marion. “For some, it’s hard to find the time to schedule appointments. For others, it is difficult to get pets and children in the car for a trip to the veterinarian’s office. I also wanted to provide a better option for people with multiple pets or with pets that become anxious in new – and particularly veterinary -- environments.”

With these goals in mind, Dr. Marion established Doorbell Vet in 2011. A home-call veterinary service for the Rochester, N.Y., area, the approach allows Dr. Marion the time and flexibility to give all of her patients her undivided attention in the comfort of surroundings familiar to them.

The business model has its perks for Dr. Marion as well, who enjoys the low overhead that comes with running a home-call practice, the positive relationships she maintains with local veterinarians interchanging patients to meet the needs of individuals, and the opportunity to do administrative work in the comfort of her own home, where she cares for her newborn daughter. Although she never anticipated owning her own practice, in hindsight, it makes sense: business owners need to be ambitious and passionate—skills that successful veterinarians need just to make it through veterinary school.

“This has been such a wonderful move,” said Dr. Marion, explaining that she wishes she’d made the switch earlier. “There was a steep learning curve, but as a business owner, I feel more a part of my community, I really enjoy being able to offer personalized veterinary services, including hospice care for older pets, and I love the opportunity to be flexible and creative. One of my patients is most comfortable on the family’s trampoline, so that’s where we do the exam.”