Today we’d like to introduce you to Liz McCalley.
Hi Liz, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I always knew I wanted to become a veterinarian. From helping to care for baby birds that fell out of trees, to partnering with my veterinarian at the age of 13 to help my puppy recover from distemper, I never felt happier than when I was caring for animals. My formal education began at Cornell University, where I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science. I then went on to receive my doctorate in veterinary medicine from Texas A&M University.
Upon graduating veterinary school, I worked for a major corporate veterinary hospital in Austin, Texas and then transferred to San Diego. While corporate practice had its advantages, such as a streamlined experience for pet parents throughout their hospitals, it did not allow me the freedom to practice very individualized and thorough medicine. During the next chapter in my career, I was the medical director for a boutique practice in Coronado. This allowed me to develop invaluable leadership and business skills.
In the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I decided to make another career change and began working independently as a relief veterinarian in various veterinary hospitals throughout San Diego. At the same time, I had just finished my Fear Free certification, (a certification available to veterinary professionals that teaches techniques to minimize fear, anxiety, and stress in pets during vet visits). Practicing in a Fear Free manner did not work very well with the curbside model that most practices adopted during the pandemic, because it prevented pet parents from being present in the vet clinic alongside their pets. I noticed that many dogs and most cats were showing elevated levels of stress during these types of visits. That is when my vision for ZumiVet, an in-home veterinary service, began to take shape. With ZumiVet, I perform most of the services a traditional veterinarian performs in the comfort of pets’ homes. This allows for a much more positive experience for pets and pet parents alike.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
In veterinary school, we spend countless hours learning about different body systems, states of disease, and the treatments of disease. Very little time, however, is dedicated to teaching veterinary students about how to start and run a successful business. For this reason, private veterinary practices often struggle and corporate veterinary practices are becoming the new norm. The good news is that mobile veterinary practices are much smaller, and therefore, much more simple to run. However, I still had to spend countless hours researching the proper business entity for my practice, federal and state rules that veterinary practices must abide by, and how to attract and hire employees. One thing I learned very early on, that I’d highly recommend to anyone starting a business, was to hire a trustworthy accountant and bookkeeper. Trying to balance my own books was not worth the time and stress.
Another big source of stress for me was having my first and only veterinary assistant quit only 6 months into opening ZumiVet. In the current job market, I was worried that I would not find a replacement. Luckily, a posting on Indeed resulted in a high number of applicants and I now have a registered veterinary technician performing house calls with me and a part-time receptionist that works from home.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about ZumiVet?
ZumiVet is a full-service mobile veterinarian. With the exception of surgery and anesthetic procedures, we can perform the same services as any general veterinary practice right in the comfort of your home. This means less stress for you and your pet. We specialize in Fear Free medicine, making our practice a great choice for pets that are very shy or anxious at vet visits. In addition to general medicine, we offer rehabilitation therapy (similar to physical therapy in humans) as well, which is great for orthopedic and neurologic injuries as well as for old pets with mobility limitations.
With ZumiVet, you actually get to spend quality time with the veterinarian and her staff without feeling rushed out the door. This allows your pet to receive the best and most thorough care possible.
We love surprises, fun facts, and unexpected stories. Is there something you can share that might surprise us?
I am super passionate about educating pet parents so that I can improve their lives and the lives of their pets. When I am not working with ZumiVet, I am often writing educational articles for GreatPetCare.com and PetMd.
- $200 House Call and Exam (This is an hour-long exam and consultation, includes a full review of previous medical records and a custom-tailored plan to help your pet achieve optimal health)
- Website: zumivet.com
- Instagram: @zumivet
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ZumiVet
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/zumivet-san-diego-3