PVMA Keystone Veterinarian Summer 2020 - 15

Starting a Veterinary
Practice in Pennsylvania
By Carrie A. Vigeant, DVM
Owner of Healing Paws Animal Hospital, LLC

As a child, I had always felt certain about a few things
in life. 1. My parents and God loved me. 2. I wanted
to be a veterinarian. 3. I wanted to be the owner of
a veterinary hospital. Now mind you, as a young girl,
my views on how to get there were far from certain.
But I just knew that this was what I was meant to do
with my life...my calling.
Fast forward to 2020...36 years into my life, 11
years into my career and marriage, and 9 years
into motherhood of 3 rambunctious little boys, I
decided it was time to take my biggest leap of faith. Let's start a
veterinary practice! Sounds crazy right? Who has time or energy
to dig into this endeavor with 3 little boys, work, marriage, etc?
As I am writing this, a part of me tends to agree, but an even
larger part of me is jumping up and down full of excitement, joy,
and hope that the best is yet to come with this journey. And I
can't help but think that there must be other veterinarians out
there with a similar aspiration and similar barriers. Perhaps my
journey may inspire you to let go of your fear and take that leap
of faith into practice ownership!

Where to start?
Know what you know...
and what you don't
know. I know veterinary
medicine and learn
something new every
single day. I didn't know
how to run a business.
My starting place began
with the local SCORE chapter in Lancaster. If you haven't heard
of SCORE, it is a hidden treasure for inspiring entrepreneurs!
My husband and I enrolled in the Simple Steps program to
learn more about business start up and crafting a business plan.
I gained so many pearls of wisdom throughout this program.
A few of the biggest pearls were learning how to perform
demographic analysis of my target area to help ensure I was
planning my business to succeed sheerly by choosing
the appropriate geographic location and how to develop my

"Why" statement. This mentorship program was such
an important steppingstone in my journey! Check out
their website at Score.org to find a meeting location
near you.

It takes a village!
No truer words were ever spoken. This statement
transcends time and life. I realized very quickly
that it would take MANY people and companies to
work together on my behalf to make my dream a
reality. Between picking the lender, to choosing the right lawyer,
accountant, construction company, web designer (and the list
goes on and on), you will need to surround yourself with other
professionals to ensure a successful start-up. My journey led me
to working with a leader in the veterinary industry to design my
veterinary practice. Hand picking your village allows you to work
with experts of their industries to turn your dream into reality.

Take the leap!
Practice ownership of a start up has taught me numerous
lessons. The nearest and dearest lesson I have learned is to trust
in God. My faith has grown by leaps and bounds throughout
this journey. Learning to let go and faithfully believe has been
a tough lesson to learn. I now know that fear is simply another
barrier to work around. God has been the bridge allowing me to
conquer the fear of failure and begin completing my childhood
dream. April 1, 2020, marked Healing Paws Animal Hospital
marked its 1-year anniversary, and I can whole heartedly say that
my only regret is not starting down this journey sooner!
About Dr. Carrie Vigeant, DVM: She is the owner of Healing Paws
Animal Hospital, LLC located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She earned
her D.V.M. at Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2008
and a B.S. in Biology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2004. Her
practice focuses on elevating the client and creature experience by
practicing medicine and surgery in a fear-free environment. Dr. Carrie
can be reached by email at Hello@HealingPawsAH.com and phone
717.455.3955.

Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association | 15


http://www.Score.org http://hello@healingpawsah.com

PVMA Keystone Veterinarian Summer 2020

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