Vet Clinic is 20, believe it or not
When Lynn Buysse watched her Minneota Veterinary Clinic building being constructed on the east side of town in 1997, she was pregnant with her second child, Leo, and her first child, daughter Alaine, was only 18 months old.
Brian and Lynn Buysse’s children are now students at South Dakota State University in Brookings as the clinic celebrates its 20th anniversary this September.
“I can’t believe how fast the time has gone,” said Buysse, who has been a veterinarian for 27 years in all. “When the clinic building was built, I remember having both of my kids in (child carriers) here in the front office.”
Buysse, who grew up in Brandon, SD, attended Iowa State University in Ames for eight years studying veterinary medicine. Upon graduation, she was a veterinarian for one year at a clinic south of the Twin Cities, working mainly with horses.
She then spent one year at clinic in Marshall, before working for five years at the Tri-County Veterinary Clinic in Taunton. It was then that she felt the urge to have her own clinic.
“I had a choice of a few lots out here to build on, but I chose this one,” she explained about her current location.
“Some of the other buildings that are out here now weren’t here when I had the clinic built.”
The Minneota Veterinary Clinic added a boarding facility four years ago, and then underwent an extensive renovation project last year with the addition of several rooms to make it more convenient for not only Buysse and her employees, but, more importantly, the customers. The renovation project began in Nov. 2015 and was completed in April 2016.
“We added a separate surgery suite,” said Buysse, who did all the renovation designing. “Before that, we just had one exam room that we also used for surgeries.”
“We also have a separate x-ray room with ultrasound. And we have a treatment/laboratory/pharmacy room, and an ICU board. We also have a separate ‘cat room’ and a separate ‘dog room’ to make it easier for the pet owners.”
There are also three separate “runs” outside for the dogs. “My kids used to have to come here and walk all the dogs,” Buysse said.
“Now the dogs have plenty of room for running around and getting some exercise.” The front desk area at the clinic was also redesigned. “We wanted it to look ‘homey’ here,” Buysse stated.
“And everything is handicapped accessible here now.”
To show her compassion for the customers, Buysse had a separate area put in for privacy.
“If someone comes in and has to have a pet euthanized, it’s a very difficult time for them,” she noted.
“Before we had the clinic re-done, they would have to pay at the regular counter.”
“That was hard to do when they are emotional and there were other (customers) around. Now we have a private area for that type of payment.”
Another convenience for the customer is what Buysse refers to as “telemedicine” in which pet owners can send her a photo or short video of their pet for helping to determine the urgency of bringing the pet in for treatment.
And Buysse also relays information about a pet to an owner who might be unavailable to come in.
“If a pet has surgery or needs to be here overnight for something, I will send (pet owners) a video to show how their pet is responding because it might be hard for them to leave work and check on them.” It’s that type of concern for the pets and their owners that keeps them coming back.
“I’ve been doing this so long now that I am treating second and third generation pet owners,” Buysse laughed.
“Some of the pet owners I’ve had that have moved out of the area will have me treat their pet when they come back to visit a relative.
“That’s the advantage of having one veterinarian as opposed to several like they have at clinics in the Cities. You get to know the owner’s pet and the owners know they will have the same vet look at their pet.”
But sometimes that pet doesn’t enjoy being examined, no matter how familiar they are with a veterinarian. “A pet owner that lived here has since moved to the Cities,” Buysse said.
“Her dog always bites the vets who examine it. So she brings her dog back to me because she told me I don’t look down on her for her dog biting me.”
That’s not the worst injury sustained by the small-framed veterinarian. Buysse once was kicked hard in the arm by a horse she was examining and missed 12 days of work.
“I’ve been bit, scratched and run over by bulls,” she said, shrugging her shoulders before concluding, “It’s all part of the job.”
Kari Boulton made the transition from an office worker at Schwan’s in Marshall to become the office manager at Minneota Vet Clinic and jokes about the lack of experience she initially had in animal care.
“I knew ice cream, but I didn’t know much about cats and dogs,” laughed Boulton, who has been with the clinic all 20 years.
There are four full-time employees at the clinic, including Buysse, Boulton, Veterinary Assistant LeAnn Jerzak and Veterinary Technician Vicky Skorczewski.
Buysse also employs three or four high school students part-time for cleaning and to help with the boarding of dogs and cats. And then there is Oscar, a 16-year-old cat who roams throughout the clinic and greets customers.
“Everyone that comes here knows Oscar,” said Boulton.
“He’s our comfort kitty,” said Buysse. “He was one of my brother’s farm cats.” Oscar came to the clinic eight years ago, having lost a couple of toes and suffering a broken leg in a farm accident.
The friendly feline has been there ever since. Raven, a black lab, is the resident dog at the clinic.
One of the biggest changes from when she first owned the clinic in Minneota was the variance in the size of the animals she treated.
“At first, I had about 80 percent large animals and 20 percent small,” she told.
“Now it’s the opposite of that. There just aren’t as many cattle around this area as there used to be.”
As she heads into her third decade of being a veterinarian, Buysse still has an enthusiastic attitude for her job.
“I love the job and I love animals,” she said; that statement obvious as she pets Oscar who was resting in his bed atop the desk in her office.