Doctors Rocky and Jessica Oakes are a husband and wife team who opened Oakes Animal Hospital last year after many years as associates in another practice. They are taking part in Small Business Month as they embark on their own small business journey:  

What made you decide to be a veterinarian?

Dr. Rocky Oakes: All my life I have always felt a special bond with animals and have loved learning about them. However, I have also always felt called to help people.  The great thing about each animal I see is that they also come with a person! I went to medical school to become a physician. During my senior year, I worked in a human medical center. It just wasn’t a good experience for me. After considerable thought, prayer and discussion with friends and family, I went back to my childhood vision of a job working with animals. I took a job at an animal hospital and loved it. It was clear that in this way I could help people by caring for their animals.

Dr. Jessica Oakes: I have always found animals fascinating.  Growing up on a small farm I had the privilege of caring for many animals through the years.  Nothing filled me with more satisfaction and awe than nursing one of my animals back to health after an injury or illness.  I love the thought that I can contribute to the health and quality of a pet’s life, and in return that animal can bring joy and laughter to their family. 

Why start your own business?

For many years we worked together in a rural animal hospital in the mountains of Georgia.  There we made many friendships and met many great pets.  Once our first child was born we felt it was time to move on to the next stage in our lives.  However, after experiencing cooperate big business veterinary medicine personally, I was left feeling a bit jaded.  Not only did I miss the time that I could spend with my clients at a smaller locally owned practice, but I also felt like the “one-size-fits-all” care pushed by corporate did not meet all the specific needs my patients had.  I felt then that it was time to open our own place where we could bring back that personal connection with clients while still focusing on quality care. It is a privilege to join this community, and we hope to provide a valuable service to families here for many years to come.

Why is serving the community so important?

During veterinary school, we were able to participate in a few mission trips- offering low cost/free spay and neuter procedures to the Navajo Nation in Arizona and giving wellness care to the herds of nomadic people groups in Mongolia.  These experiences left us feeling blessed and humbled.  Now that our young family and work commitments keep us closer to home we are still trying to find ways to give back and help our community locally.  Since opening our doors we have been able to work closely with the Forsyth Humane Society.  We offer medical care and surgery at a reduced cost to the Humane Society.  We have been rewarded in seeing many of these special animals find forever homes after receiving needed medical attention.

The Chamber’s Keep it Local initiative promotes community support for local business ventures. Spending locally creates a strong economy and a sense of place which gives our town its unique lifestyle. The Keep it Local campaign will feature a different segment of businesses each month in 2018. April is Small Business Month.