URBANA — Dr. Nancy Little used a wheelchair during the build out on her veterinary business.
She was about ready to get back on her feet after breaking one leg and spraining the other one.
But having foresight, the veterinarian had the architect design wider doors, a wheelchair-accessible shower, and placement of the examining tables and equipment so it could be used by someone in a wheelchair.
“I didn’t think I would need it, but here I am,” said Little, pushing herself around the animal hospital after a fall down her stairs left her with a broken leg. “I did the same thing before.”
Little, 54, who lives in Poolesville, said her doctor told her to stay in bed. “I took the cast off and came to work.” When her car pulls in, Tammi Sarkisian, business manager and vet technician, meets the doctor with her wheelchair and pushes her inside.
Once in, Little moves about the hospital’s examining rooms, laboratory, pharmacy and other areas.
“I’ve done several surgeries, as well as regular care for dogs and cats,” Little said. The examination and operating tables move up and down to whatever height is needed.
“I’m not sure when I’ll be back on my feet,” Little said. She has her next appointment with the doctor next week.
Visitors to Village Vet of Urbana, 335 Worthington Blvd., are usually greeted by Rick James, Little’s pug dog. Besides Sarkisian, the hospital has hosted a number of interns from Urbana High School. Student Laura King is currently an intern and plans to be a veterinarian.
Born in Washington, Little graduated from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in 1990. Before that, and during her studies, she worked for a number of veterinarians. With more than 22 years in treating animals, Little has worked in emergency and intensive care situations and gained experience in laser therapy for animals. She has worked for veterinarians who do more than the traditional dogs and cats, including birds, guinea pigs and ferrets.
“I’m a single mother and worked a lot of permanent part-time jobs as I had twin sons to take care of. They are now 21, and I felt I could open my own place,” Little said.
The front lobby features an attractive water device, which is actually designed to clean the air. “And it is soothing to people and animals,” Little said. Rick James helps out, as well, she said, in making customers at home. The dog will take a toy out to another dog and sit beside an owner while their pet is being examined to keep them company.
“Most veterinary businesses don’t have all of this,” Little said, noting the radiology section, an isolation area, a large operatory and an overnight area where technicians will stay with the patient all night if needed.
“We are the only place in the shopping center with a window to the back,” Little said. “The animals really like that.” There is an area in the back where the dogs can be walked.
Little has helped at the Frederick County Animal Shelter, doing 3,000 spay and neuter treatments for dogs and cats. “I did a cleft palate operation on a dog. It would have been a $3,000 operation. I did for free,” Little said.
And for larger dogs, such as a Great Dane that can’t walk, Little has a cart that can be pushed out to the owner’s car, the dog put on it and wheeled in.