Horses, cows, and pigs are some of the animals you would find in McAfee Animal Hospital’s two-room clinic in 1943. Valparaiso used to be a farming community, and Dr. John McAfee recognized the need for a large animal doctor. Shortly after, he founded McAfee Animal Hospital. Today, the animal hospital is still standing strong as it celebrates its 80th anniversary in 2023.
After a few years of only seeing large animals, John McAfee decided to have additional hours at night to take care of the dogs and cats of the farms in the area. Over time, the clinic began seeing more and more small animals.
Throughout this slow change, large animals were still being seen, but the focus shifted to equine (horse) medicine and surgery. In 1975, the practice was approximately 50% large animal and 50% small animal, and John McAfee wanted a partner.
His son, Dr. Larry McAfee, graduated from the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine in 1973 and practiced in Florida and California after graduating. After a phone call and a few minutes to think, Larry McAfee was on his way back to Indiana.
Larry McAfee explained that was one of the best decisions of his life. From that moment until now, Larry McAfee has slowly evolved to treating family pets and ensuring every family and pet feels welcomed and taken care of.
“Even though we’re pretty big now, we still have a family atmosphere,” Larry McAfee said. “Clients call the doctors by their first name, and they have good relationships between clients and the doctors in this staff.”
Dr. Brooke McAfee is the daughter of Larry McAfee, and she is the third generation within her family to be a practicing veterinarian at McAfee Animal Hospital. Larry McAfee explained it was important to him to allow Brooke McAfee to make her own career decision, but she still wanted to be a veterinarian.
“You never want to push your kids to a career. In fact, I tried everything in my power to talk Brooke out of veterinary medicine,” Larry McAfee said.
McAfee Animal Hospital is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year. The celebration will allow clients to meet and speak to Larry McAfee and the other employees at the hospital. There will be pizza, ice cream, kids rides, presentations, a police dog demonstration, agility dog training, and dogs able to locate invasive bugs by their scent.
“Anybody is welcome to come, but it's a celebration for our clients,” Larry McAfee said.
The connection between staff and clients is strong at McAfee, and they want to celebrate that. McAfee Animal Hospital has been making connections with families and keeping the pets of Valpo healthy for 80 years, and that is definitely something to celebrate.
“People love their pets. Pets are unconditional love,” Larry McAfee said. “If you've had a rough day, or you're in a crabby mood, you get home and they're there. All they care about is getting petted, so you can't help but smile when you get home.”For more information regarding McAfee Animal Hospital, please visit mcafeeah.com.