Television Is Awash With Makeover shows for everything from houses to personal appearance. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is heartwarming and inspirational (these are deserving people!), while What Not to Wear can be hysterical and appalling (are you kidding me with that outfit?). So, in keeping with the cultural landscape, I'm sharing
the story of a practice makeover that's been years in the making and in which I've been privileged to play a role. It's inspirational
and humorous because of the owner's positive outlook, along with his love and respect for his profession, his team, his patients,
and his clients. I hope you'll enjoy this transformation as much as I have.
From large-animal to small
Dr. Charles Curie ("Charlie" to those who know him) started his practice in 1979 in his hometown of Jefferson, Ohio, after
graduating from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Originally naming the practice Ashtabula County
Veterinary Service, Dr. Curie was a solo large animal practitioner until 1983, when he built a facility, hired an associate,
and expanded his services to include companion animal medicine. He changed the practice name to Country Doctor Veterinary
Clinic—a carefully chosen title that he felt represented all he believed in: honesty, integrity, compassion, good medicine,
and good value.
The practice focused primarily on large animal services at first. "We didn't make much money in those years," Dr. Curie says.
"I was too busy practicing medicine to give management much thought. I would have made a good dairy farmer—my work was a labor
Denise L. Tumblin, CPA
All of that changed in 1995 when Dr. Diane Veale joined the practice, bringing an expertise in companion animal medicine and
an enthusiasm for leadership. Dr. Curie says that before Dr. Veale arrived, he allotted companion animal services about an
hour a day—and that begrudgingly. He couldn't have chosen to expand the companion animal practice at a better time—the dairy
industry was taking a hit and the number of large animal clients was dwindling. But with Dr. Veale on board, things were looking
positive for the clinic's future.
Then, in the spring of 1996, tragedy struck. Dr. Curie was severely injured by a horse, and as a result he was left with fractured
vertebrae, bulging discs, no cervical range of motion, and a numb, weak left arm. Thus ended his ability to practice large
Before and after
"I spent several years visiting specialists," Dr. Curie says. "They all wanted to know how a man of my age got to be in such
deplorable condition. And then each one announced he or she couldn't help—no surgery, no miracles, and no hope." So Dr. Curie
focused on rehabilitation through physical and massage therapy, which did help him feel better.