Angela West joins Park City Animal Clinic
There was never any doubt for Angela West. She would become a veterinarian.
"I went into college young and graduated from veterinarian school very young," West said. "I studied from the time I came out of high school and buried myself in the library for my college career."
Once in school, she never lost confidence in her future either.
"I’m pretty determined," West said, "not making it, never crossed my mind."
West has lived in Park City for the last three years and joined the Park City Animal Clinic last November.
A thoroughbred race horse farm next to her childhood home cultivated her passion for animals.
"It was an old, southern plantation," West said. "The owner of the farm sold us the backside of the property."
West rode racehorses every day before school and worked summers taking care of the animals.
"I was a horse fanatic like every little girl in the world," she said.
But becoming a jockey was not in her future.
"When I got too big to be a jockey, I decided I would take care of (horses) instead."
Soon, her love for horses grew to encompass more of the animal kingdom.
"I always wanted to be around animals," West said. "I decided to take care of animals small and large."
Since graduating from Louisiana State University in 1990, she has worked on all kinds of animals throughout the country until winding up in Utah in 1994.
At Park City Animal Clinic, she works only with smaller animals, which she says are easier to keep healthy.
"As you can imagine, large animals are physically more demanding," West said. "They’re bigger, you have to go out and catch them, and physically it’s more difficult.
West says large animals are often out in pastures and aren’t seen or checked on as frequently. By the time they get to a doctor, "they are really sick."
"Most of the animals in Park City live with their owners in their homes so they can see things quickly."
Healing animals has been a career that has brought her tremendous satisfaction. Each dog, cat or horse has its own personality that West grows to love.
"It’s great. It makes you feel really, really good about what you did that day," West said. "It’s about saving them from pain and suffering."
West says she becomes attached to both the pet and the owners
"Of course I enjoy working with animals, but I also like the owners," she said.
"Especially when you see that little boy smiling and going home with (his dog) it makes you feel like you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing."
In the reality, however, sometimes the boy doesn’t go home with a smile on his face. Those are the times when West says she has to remain focused on her duty.
"They want me to be the strong one," West said. "I shed quite a few tears."
West believes her new office gives people better service than previous places she’s worked. She chose it because she observed a compassionate staff.
"I liked the fact that it’s not so busy that people don’t’ get individual care," West said. "Everyone gets individualized one-on-one care. We spend a lot more time with owners and patients. It’s just a high-end quality medicine and surgery practiced here."
West said most veterinarians are general practitioners but they end up developing a specialty over time.
"I really love dermatology and internal medicine," she said.
When customers come into the office, West said they should expect to be greeted "by a friendly outgoing caring staff member. Someone will then meet with the person about the history of the animal and find out why they are visiting. A technician will take all the vital signs, the heart rate, temperature, blood pressure and the weight of the animal.
"After those things are done, the doctor goes into the examining room with the pet and discusses the issues they are having," West said.
Afterwards, the doctor will discuss the options for the animal based on price and treatment.
"We take each case on a one-on-one basis and assess the best treatment for the owner," West said. "Everybody has different needs. Some people can do everything that’s recommended and some can’t afford that. We try to come up with a solution that’s viable.
"We try to offer these alternatives and let them chose what’s best for them," she added. "That takes some extra time. Our goal is for the owner to leave happy and the animal to leave happy as well."
New pet owners should do research before they decide to purchase an animal, West says. Each breed has different medical issues and owners should know what to prepare for.
"We suggest they see veterinarian right away and have them examined," West said. "If it’s an adult dog we like to examine them thoroughly. We can taper or fit what that particular animal needs. Every animal is different.
Overall, West says, "People that have a new pet should see doctor as soon as possible for nutrition and vaccinations; it helps add years to their lives."
Park City Animal Clinic is located at 1950 Woodbine Way. For more information, call 649-0710 or log onto http://www.parkcityanimalclinic.com.
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