“I had kind of an interesting past that brought me here,” says Dr. Beth Sallee, the new owner of Fort Henry Animal Hospital, who recently sold the large practice she built and ran over the last 30 years in Johnson City.
“I built a huge practice over those years and learned a lot, but I also built it so big that I was spending a very large portion of my time doing management, and I didn’t get to spend as much time doing the one-on-one with the client and the direct patient care,” she says.
“That really took me away from my original focus, which is my love of animals and helping people — that’s why I went to vet school. So, I decided to sell out to a corporate group that could help with the management of the large practice, and then my interest in coming to Fort Henry was to get back to the one-on-one personalized service and personal touch.”
What drew her to Fort Henry was its warm and friendly atmosphere, Sallee says — where everyone knows the clients and their pets, and they bring a caring attitude and a gentle touch.
Since her arrival there, she’s invested in updated equipment, facilities and procedures, expanding services to offer more to patients in this comfortable setting.
Among the things she’s added: an ultrasound machine, an additional anesthesia machine and upgrades for patient comfort and safety during procedures, a variety of upgrades to the dental suite, IV fluid pumps, an oxygen cage, an isolation ward, and — for the humans — a TV and beverage station in the waiting room. She’s also excited about adding additional runs to expand boarding for more room and comfort.
“For me it’s starting over and getting back to my roots,” Sallee says. “I went into veterinary medicine to take care of patients and to help people.”
At Fort Henry Animal Hospital, she says, they do a little bit of everything for the cats and dogs they care for there.
“We can go from helping a critical patient that was hit by a car, to treating a dog with ongoing seizures, to vaccinating a kitten for its first visit, to doing surgery to remove bladder stones, to doing an abdominal ultrasound to rule out cancer, to boarding and bathing and doing haircuts on patients, so it runs the gamut,” Sallee says.
“We also do routine dentistry and tooth extractions… so we’re doing anesthetic procedures frequently Monday through Friday.”
“We have digital x-ray here, if they need lab work we can run lab work in the hospital, or — if it’s something that has a more specialized test — we have lab couriers that pick up samples every single day, and we can usually get results back the very next day, so in a lot of ways we can get things done that you might be seeing in a human hospital.”
These days, she says, pets are often considered members of the family — and Fort Henry offers a variety of options to help people choose the best care for their pets. For Sallee, it’s all about helping animals — and the people who love them.
“I was just born with a love of animals,” she says. “I grew up loving horses and loving all dogs and cats and even brought snakes home. It was just somehow ingrained in me from when I was a child… and so now I’m just so much happier having my hands back in it.”
For more information about Fort Henry Animal Hospital, you can visit them online at www.forthenryanimalhospital.com or call (423) 239-6711.