ROGERS - Recent college graduates don't usually take the challenge of establishing their own business, for understandable reasons. But after meeting her, it quickly becomes obvious that veterinarian Dr. Amy Chronister is not the average young person just beginning on their career path.
Less than a year out of Ohio State University School of Veterinary Medicine, where she specialized in equine medicine, Chronister established Sunny Ridge Veterinary Services this past August on Sprucevale Road in Rogers. She admits that opening her own animal clinic and hospital was a huge step to take so soon.
"You're battling the fact that people think you have no experience," she admitted. However, Chronister says she always wanted to be a vet and that having her own clinic so close to home is the culmination of a dream. "I'm five minutes away from where I grew up milking cows, I'm five minutes away from my family's farm. It's pretty much more than we ever could have hoped for," she said.
Dr. Amy Chronister and her staff at Sunny Ridge Veterinary Services have an obvious love for animals that shows through during any visit to the clinic in Rogers. Chronister (center) is seen with Buckley, while groomer Rachel Berresford (left) poses with Cali, and Brandi Bannister (right) sits with Oscar while holding little Minnie, the Sunny Ridge mascot. (Photo by Richard Sberna)
Working with livestock and horses on her family's farm in Glenmoor since childhood served as an early training ground for Chronister's present career. Sunny Ridge Veterinary Services provides care for a broad range of large and small animals alike, from cats and dogs to livestock. They have developed something of a specialty for seeing unusual pets, like pot-bellied pigs and rabbits. "Bunny surgery and bunny care is something that we've gone into and do quite a bit of," she said.
Chronister's passion is large animal medicine, in which a wide variety of care is offered. "As far as the large animals go, we do absolutely everything," she said. "Whether it's a cow, a goat a horse, a pig: We can help them out." While at OSU, she won her class award for Excellence in Equine Emergency and Critical Care, which Chronister is unique in offering locally. Sunny Ridge Veterinary Services can provide emergency equine care, including basic surgery, and 24-hour critical care and hospitalization.
"Whether its surgical, in for specialty services that need daily bandage changes or a critical care case, they stay here for 24/7 care," Chronister said.
Another benefit those who own horses, livestock and other large animals is that Sunny Ridge is licensed to practice veterinary medicine in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and is accredited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in all three states. This means Chronister is able to do housecalls to stables and farms anywhere in the River Valley. "Most practices can't travel through the tri-state area," she said.
Chronister is also able to save people time and money by performing Coggins testing and writing health certificates for animals that cross state lines, something only veterinarians accredited in each bordering state can accomplish. "Even if their vet can travel to that state, but that vet can't do health papers, then you have to have two vets to do one job," Chronister explained.
Sunny Ridge Veterinary Services occupies the former Equine Diagnostics horse surgical center, which was built in 2007 on 14 acres, with equipment and facilities to handle horses as a specialty. "When we got here, everything was here already," Chronister says. "The day we moved in and got organized, we could start seeing patients." In addition to the barn there's a modern operating room and lab, plus a padded drop stall for large-animal surgery recovery. There's even a cattle transporter to come out to farms and pick up livestock patients.
Other convenient services are offered by Sunny Ridge, including small animal grooming by Rachel Berresford and equine dental care. They also provide small animal boarding for cats and dogs in their full-service kennel and can handle specialty animal needs, including those of diabetic pets. Out back, there's a seven-stall equine barn, and two fenced-in paddocks for turnout and exercise for large animal boarding.
Chronister is very encouraged by the positive feedback she's received since opening the practice, which she says comes from taking time with patients and their owners to get to know them personally. "We really want to develop a good community relationship with people," she said. "We don't want to just get you in and out. We want to build long-term relationship with you."
Regular hours at Sunny Ridge Veterinary Services are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, with surgical procedures scheduled on Saturdays, and after-hours emergency care for both large and small animals available seven days a week. Visitors are welcome at the clinic on 9282 Sprucevale Road. For more information, call 330-227-9295 or look up Sunny Ridge Veterinary Services on Facebook.