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Here, doc: Vet service comes to pets’ pads

JOE COONEY, COURIER-POST6:04 p.m. EST December 20, 2014

http://www.courierpostonline.com/story/news/local/south-jersey/2014/12/20/doc-vet-service-comes-pets-pads/20703769/

Lisa Aumiller has been a lover of animals since she was a child.

“I was always bringing things home in my pocket, and my dad would say, ‘No, you can’t have that one,’” she recalls with a smile. “I’ve always loved our fur babies.”

Born in Kentucky, Aumiller and her family moved to Cherry Hill when she was in the sixth grade. She graduated from the veterinary school at Virginia Tech in 1999 and worked at South Jersey pet hospitals for the next 11 years.

But something was missing.

“I felt stuck. The first place I worked was very busy, and I’d be seeing a pet every 12 minutes or so,” she says.

“The next place was a lot slower, but was very corporate. They were just out to make a buck, to tell me I had to give vaccines when I didn’t think the pet really needed them.”

So in 2010, armed with a stethoscope, a microscope and a truck, she launched HousePaws Mobile — a vet service that makes house calls.

The Doctor of Veterinary Medicine started by herself, working from her Mount Laurel home. In its first year, the business took in $60,000.

In 2012, Aumiller and her husband purchased a building on Centerton Road formerly used by a lawyer. HousePaws is in the rear of the building; Dr. Brad Anderson, D.C. runs his chiropractic office in the front.

This year, HousePaws will likely surpass Lisa’s goal of $2.2 million. She now has six vets on staff and 22 office personnel working in Mount Laurel and a satellite office in Atco.

Aumiller says her vets have training in advanced areas such as acupuncture, rehab, ultrasound, stem cell therapy, dentistry and orthopedic surgery.

In October alone, she and her team made 14,000 house calls.

Did you ever expect such a boom in business?

I never thought it would be like this. It literally went crazy right off the bat. My husband said, “You’re going to be busier than you know.” And I said it wouldn’t be.

He ended up not working for two years because this went so crazy so fast. The jump in revenue is crazy. It’s super nuts. And it’s all from word of mouth.

Where are most of your furry clients?

We mainly serve Burlington and Camden counties, but since we just opened in Atco, we’ll also be doing Gloucester County.

We have two ambulances that can transport pets, and we have four trucks for our house calls.

Our trucks are like laboratories on wheels. On each truck, we have stretchers, bandages, digital X-ray machines, microscopes, blood spinners and a complete pharmacy. We also have a surgery pack for minor injuries.

Most of the stuff we can do at the pet’s home. For the big stuff like dental or major surgeries, we do (in Mount Laurel).

Why is it better for the pet for you to come to them?

All kinds of reasons. They’re in their natural environment and they feel comfortable. Some dogs are very scared to go to the vet. At home, they’re not. We’ll even go to a dog park if a client requests that, and that’s where the dog wants to be.

At home (the pets are) isolated. At a hospital or kennel you have contagious diseases. One dog comes in with kennel cough and two weeks later, everybody has it.

What’s the best part of your job?

Everybody is happy. People will leave a clinic or animal hospital complaining they just got ripped off for $300 in 10 minutes.

We might charge the same, but people tell us we’re too cheap because we come to them.

If I was late or behind when I was working at the hospital, people would be ticked off. If I’m late now, people at home will put on coffee. They give us cookies and we have tea parties with their kids.

We see their home environment and we get to know them. Every day is like making a visit to your friend’s house.

Plus, the pets aren’t scared. It’s all about what’s best for the pets.

Reach Joe Cooney at (609) 332-5524 or jcooney@courierpost

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