On Saturday, Vale Park Animal Hospital gathered its employees and pet owners in good spirit and with good food to welcome Dr. Brent Lakia back to the hospital and the community.
Dr. Brent worked at Vale Park Animal Hospital from 1998 to 2006 while attending Chesterton High School. He worked as a kennel staff member there before leaving to pursue his career in the veterinary field.
“It was after I was finished with my clinicals that Vale Park reached out to me and asked if he was ready to come home”, said Dr. Brent. “I was really excited and jumped on the chance to return to where I developed such a strong connection to the veterinary community.”
“Even though I still remember many of the people involved with Vale Park, the meet and greet today is to reintroduce me not as the kennel helper or the kid playing soccer outside, but as the doctor, it’s very moving,” he continued.
The meet and greet featured food and refreshments from Suzi’s Cafe ranging from meatballs and kebabs to an assortment of delicious cupcakes. Tonya Hiscox also made a beautiful “welcome back” cake complete with paw prints and even miniature Dr. Brent atop the cake.
“Our practice began seeing a lot of growth and we decided it would be a good idea to hire a sixth doctor here,” said Jackie Stalbaum, the current office manager at Vale Park Animal Hospital. “Dr. Brent returning is a 'win win' for both him and our clients in that our clients have been with us for so long they remember him and he remembers them."
“He’s really enthusiastic and ready for his new adventure in veterinary practice with us here at Vale Park,” she continued. “It must be a very fulfilling feeling for Dr. Brent to have started out as one of the kennel helpers and move onto becoming a veterinarian at that same place”.
Debbie Hanberry, the previous office manager at Vale Park described Dr. Brent’s return as like a family member returning home.
“Brent worked here during high school, but he also would come back in the summer so all of us are very happy for him to start working here and decided to throw this combined homecoming party and meet-and-greet for Dr. Brent,” she said.
“The thing about Vale Park is we strive for great patient and customer service, and Dr. Brent recognizes as well as all the staff here does, that behind every leash is a caring owner that needs to be taken care of too."