SPRING CREEK -- When she was in third grade, Kathryn Moriarty decided she would be a veterinarian. Now, she owns the only female-run practice in the area, Aspen Veterinary Clinic.
To be a veterinarian she did four years of undergrad and then another four of vet school.
“I did a one-year internship, like a human doctor would do an internship,” she said. “And residency to specialize. So I did an internship under specialty at a specialty clinic in Denver.”
After Denver, she spent some time in Las Vegas before moving to Spring Creek. She worked 2 years at another clinic before going out on her own.
“It’s typical of veterinarians,” she said. “We’re independent. We’re hard workers, and we kinda do things our way.”
The clinic, located at 441 Sunshine Lane in Spring Creek, runs on the policy of treating pets like valued family members.
“We nurture the family and the animal,” Moriarty said. “I don’t think it’s just about the animals, it’s about the people. We aren’t just an animal doctor … even though a lot of people think it’s about the animals. It’s been about the people.”
Moriarty is a natural introvert and so being in a service industry is hard. But she has learned to work with the people for the good of the pets. Her 12 employees, a couple of whom have been with her since the beginning, are her support system.
“We’re all women so we’re all raising children. And we all share that duty. Its’ like a village, helping each other out and not just a work environment.”
But there is one man who works at the clinic. Moriarty’s husband, Bob, does maintenance and helps her with the management.
Laughing, she said, “So, we have 13 employees then … Bob’s just there. Pretty much he needs to do whatever the clinic needs. So he’s an employee of the clinic. Pipe breaks, light goes out. He needs to do the money thing. He needs to step in with some disputes or something. He’s pretty much on call to do whatever is needed.”
Over the 12 years that Aspen has been open, Moriarty has learned to trust her employees in order to stay productive.
“The biggest lesson is that you never stop learning. So there’s always something to improve in. You really have to learn to delegate and trust your team members to do their job. Because they are the backbone of your work and the support for you. And always trying to improve … when there are so many aspects you have to keep up on, like I have to learn new surgery techniques, new treatment protocols, new ways to diagnose and treat diseases. Here my licensed nurses are improving their anesthetic skills.”
While running her own clinic allows her to follow her vision and code, there are certain drawbacks.
“When you go to school for a doctor degree you don’t go for a business degree. So the hardest part is being the doctor and running the business. Because when you’re the person (who) is depended on for producing, you also have to run it. So the time you have to spend on doing business versus things that pay the bills; it’s really hard to focus on the business.”
The biggest piece of advice she has for aspiring vets:
“Have a plan.” She said and then added with a laugh, “but prepare to change because obstacles will come in your path.”