Brittany Barkley knew at a young age she wanted to be a veterinarian.
She grew up with dogs and dreamed of caring for them. When she went to college, she explored other options. But she always came back to veterinary school.
“I’ve wanted to be a vet since I was a little kid,” Barkley said. “I’ve worked in veterinary hospitals since I was 20 years old.”
Barkley went to N.C. State University, then worked at a veterinary hospital in Marion. Owning her own practice was always the goal. Last year, the opportunity came up when Springs Road Animal Hospital closed in May.
Four months later, Barkley took over the clinic and was able to keep the same staff, she said. “They know the clients and the animals so the transition was smooth,” Barkley said.
Before opening, Barkley put in new floors, painted and bought new equipment for animal diagnosis, treatment and surgery.
Over the past eight months, Barkley has gotten to know the community and is becoming a part of it herself, she said.
“The people here are so nice and it’s such a good place to be,” Barkley said.
Barkley said she sees animals as family members, so healing and taking care of them can change lives.
“I think pets make a big impact for people,” Barkley said. “For some people, pets are the only person people have in their life. They’re part of their family.”
Barkley finds joy in helping pets get better — figuring out what’s wrong and making it right. Even when it doesn’t go well, putting animals to rest is still helping the animal in some cases, she said.
“Sometimes you take home that sadness, it’s part of the job,” Barkley said. “For me, you’re still helping an animal, you’re still doing good.”
Barkley puts her heart and care into her work, she said.
“My core belief is in compassion so we just try to approach every case,” she said.