from barns to beagles: Kelly Fleming, DVM
When she was a little girl, Kelly Fleming saw the impact a veterinarian can have, and she knew exactly what she wanted to be when she grew up. In our recent interview, Dr. Fleming, DVM and chief of staff at Banfield Pet Hospital in Anderson, SC, talks about her journey to Banfield, how things have changed, and why she’s happy she has a garage.
I was seven and I was a horse-crazy kid. I was at the barn riding one day, and one of the horses got kicked and had this nasty laceration all the way through to his trachea. The veterinarian came in and I was fixated in their repair of the wound. I thought “That's the coolest thing I've ever seen!” So it’s sort of cheesy, but that literally was when I was like, “I'm going to be a vet.”
After college, veterinary school, an internship, and a three-year residency, I practiced equine-only internal medicine for about ten years. But I had a child, I was working seven days a week, and I knew it just wasn’t sustainable.
I knew that working with small animals was the direction I needed to go. That’s when my Banfield journey began.
I was living in Oklahoma, but on a whim, I applied for a job at Banfield in my hometown of Anderson, South Carolina, which I got. And then, in my 12-week onboarding training, my amazing coach, Dr. Katherine George in Spartanburg, gave me the tools and support that led to me becoming the small animal veterinarian that I am today.
How has COVID-19 changed petcare?
Petcare feels different now, especially because our clients can’t be in the exam room with their pet and their veterinarian. For some people, that’s fine. But for others, it’s difficult emotionally to let their dog out of their sight, even if the pet is going to be cared for by a veterinarian.
And of course, it's not the way that we want to do it. Believe me, we want to be in the room with you. We want to be there for you. We want to be getting puppy kisses while you're in the room with us. But by working together and being flexible, we can provide the care pets need. It just looks a little different right now.
Since the pandemic started, I’ve never seen so many pets in my entire life. I've never been busier, and it’s because people love their pets. And now that they're home more, they see things they might not have noticed before, they're more in tune to their pets, and are more likely to bring their pets in for care.
Do you have time for any hobbies?
I like to work out. So I have a little “garage gym” and my workout apps, and all my workout buddies – we’re all in the same boat. It gets really hot and muggy, but that's part of the charm of a garage gym!