1. How long have you been at Mellina Animal Hospital or in the veterinary profession?
I have worked at Mellina Animal Hospital as a veterinarian since October of 2019. This is my second time working here. I worked summers and Christmas breaks as a veterinary student from 1984 to 1987. I graduated from the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine in 1988. I worked at Handley Animal Hospital in East Fort Worth from 1988 to 1998. I owned my own practice in Flower Mound from 1999 to 2016. I worked at Safari Veterinary Care Center in League City, Texas, from 2016 to 2019. Coming back to Mellina Animal Hospital is like coming home. Dr. Mellina had the most significant influence on my professional career. His influence has carried over into every aspect of my career. It is great to be 60 years old and still have a hero. I have always said if I ever grow up, I want to be like Dr. Mellina. Of course, I have never grown up…
2. What do you pride yourself in when it comes to your job and/or taking care of your patients?
I pride myself on always offering the best that veterinary medicine has and explaining its benefits. Then let the clients decide. It is their family member, and they know them better than I do. I also try to remember that veterinary medicine is both an animal and human profession. What people will do for their pets is truly wondrous. Relationships are the most crucial thing in veterinary medicine. I have clients that have come to see me at three different practices, sometimes from long distances. I have taken care of pets for two to three generations of several families. That is something to be proud of.
I also pride myself on practicing what I preach. I do the same things with my pets that I ask my clients to do, including brushing their teeth. My pets are family members, and I want to have them live as long and happy a life as possible. Even though I am a veterinarian, my dogs and cats have the same issues my client’s pets experience—these range from skin and ear disease through heart and kidney trouble to cancer. I want to satisfy myself, knowing that I have done everything possible to make their lives as long and as good as possible. These experiences can be used to help guide my clients in their decisions. I can also freely answer the common question of “what would you do if this was your dog or cat?”
Clients today are smart and want to know how to take care of their four-legged family members. I take a lot of pride in educating clients on how to prevent illness. Above all, I take pride in letting people know I genuinely care about their dog or cat. I am convinced that clients don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
3. What do you do in your free time?
My passion is Texas A&M football. My dad took us to my first Aggie game (according to mom) when I was a babe in arms in 1961. My first memory of a game was 1965. I have been to 330 games all over the country (since 1966, that I can directly recall).
I have had a strong interest in model railroading most of my life and have been continually active in the hobby since 1975. I have built five layouts. The most recent layout encompassed almost the entire upstairs of our home in Lewisville, made from 2005 – 2016. It included advanced electronics, detailed structures, and rolling stock, and hand-painted backdrops that allowed me to depict railroading on the West slope of the Continental Divide in Colorado in the fall of 1956. Through this hobby, I have learned about carpentry, electronics, geology, and vegetation. I have conducted an extensive study of America’s structures, vehicles, clothing, lifestyle, and culture in the 1950s. Most of all, the hobby has allowed me to meet many people who have become lifelong friends. My veterinary skills have been advanced by mastering the skills necessary to build highly detailed models. My goal is to recreate a (hopefully) better layout soon once a suitable home has been found. In the interim, I continue to build models for the next great endeavor.
If that is not enough, I also like to travel to Colorado to study the area of the railroad I model traverses. I also want to see most of Texas. Then, I also hope to see most of the United States.
4. Favorite Quotes?
“Love your clients so much that they would be afraid to leave for fear of a harsher world outside your door. “ – Mark Opperman
“I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I am going to be happy in it.’’ – Groucho Marx
“Every day when I wake up, I listen and sniff the air. If I don’t hear sobbing or smell flowers, I know it’s okay to get up.”
5. Favorite Sayings
I want to live forever. So far, so good.
Diagnose before you treat.
At the end of the business day: Did we do some good today?
My dad told me that when we get over 60, the first thing we lose is our memory. I asked him what the second thing was that we lost. He said he couldn’t remember.
My wife said she wanted to marry a man who would listen to her and remember what she said. She didn’t want that at all.
20 years from now, how important will this thing you are stressed about be to you?
When everyone around you is angry or upset, hide in a corner and throw chocolate.
When you are stressed, pet a cat. It will probably make you feel better. It will make the cat feel good. For the cat, that is good enough.
A veterinarian has the world’s coolest job. We get to play with other people’s pets for a living.
A wise man once said…
6. What animal would you be and why?
I could be either a cat or a dog. Cats are independent thinkers, meticulous, clean, intuitive, and focused on objectives. I also want to learn to have a nap like my cat eventually. He looks so happy. Dogs have many attributes I admire. They are loyal and intelligent (German shepherds). They are always excited and want to share that happiness with those around them (golden retrievers and boxers). They always want to make you happy (Australian shepherds). They can make you laugh (French bulldogs). Those are all admirable traits. I have often thought that if I could learn these traits and learn to use my eyes as a dog does, I could accomplish great things!