Every few weeks, crowds of people and an array of animals converge at community centers and meeting halls in the small towns along the Parks Highway in Alaska. It is a bit of a social occasion, and neighbors wait with their pets and chat amicably while waiting their turn to meet with a spry woman with short blond hair, a quick smile, and practical efficiency who operates the Wildwood Mobile Veterinary Clinic.
We’d like to introduce you to Dr. Susan Dent.
There are many people who earn a living while traveling the road, but for Alaskan veterinarian Dr. Susan Dent, taking your work on the road is just how you get business done! For the past six years, Dr. Dent has been serving rural communities along Alaska’s Parks Highway as a mobile vet for who do not have a nearby brick-and-mortar veterinary service. For many, Dr. Dent’s mobile clinic is a critical part of their animal husbandry.
Client Marianne Schoppmeyer of Willow says,
“We love Dr. Dent! She is a fantastic approachable vet who truly understands the nature of the Willow Community’s diverse needs…from sled dog to Chihuahua!”
Life as an Alaskan mobile vet has its perks. Dr. Dent likes being able to see the actual conditions where a pet lives as it helps her better evaluate and diagnose what might be going on with an animal, and how it might be impacted by its surroundings. Understanding what the client has on hand can also help her come up with treatment options that work best for the animal and owner in whatever situation they may be living. However, working alone also can be challenging, especially when you need help holding an animal still for blood draws or treatment. She laughingly states that pigs in particular can be tricky as they are both very smart and strong. If a pig is not in the mood to cooperate with the good doctor, then there isn’t much you can do to convince them otherwise!
From sled dogs and house pets to goats, pigs, cows, and horses, Dr. Dent’s mobile clinic offers services from routine exams and vaccinations to farm calls and field surgery. Her “office” is a converted toy hauler trailer complete with a desk, chairs, movable exam table, small space for lab work, and storage for veterinary supplies. Her larger, 24-foot Class C motorhome capably pulls her office trailer and provides a place to “shake off the dog fur” as a home-away-from-home while she is on the road. Along with her trusty companion, border collie Tesla, Dr. Dent routinely travels between Willow, Caswell, Talkeetna, and Healy holding clinic hours at local community centers or doing house calls.
For more information, follow the clinic on Facebook.