As a young boy, Dr. Mike Miller was constantly warned about the difficulties of becoming a Veterinarian. He was told that he had to get straight A’s and that getting into vet school was harder than getting into medical school. Despite the countless warnings, Dr. Miller accomplished what he set out to do and is now the owner of the 37-year old Duluth Animal Hospital.
Duluth Animal Hospital, 12-year Best of Gwinnett Winner, was the first animal hospital to open in the Duluth area. Originally owned and operated by Dr. Bob Dickinson, the practice is now situated on the property that used to be Dr. Dickinson’s home.
When Dr. Miller moved to Duluth in 1994, he came with the intentions of landing a job, and then finding somewhere else to live. But Gwinnett’s unique charm grew on him.
“I had just moved from California and I was very impressed with what Bob had done with the hospital. I only planned to stay for a short amount of time,” Dr. Miller says. “But Bob and I got along great, and I loved the life in Duluth so I ended up staying. The place grows on you. Duluth, Gwinnett county, it all grows on you.”
And just 10 years later, Dr. Dickinson was ready to retire and offered to sell the business to Dr. Miller. Dr. Dickinson didn’t want the business to be sold to a big corporation; instead, he wanted the business to reflect the same spirit that he had fostered. In 2004, Dr. Miller bought the business from Dr. Dickinson, and has worked tremendously hard to keep that same spirit alive that Dr. Dickinson created, while also implementing new Veterinary science.
Veterinary Science is like anything else. With technology, it changes, Dr. Miller says. So we have been upgrading, incorporating new modes of treatment, therapy, and laser surgery. We use digital x-rays, digital dental x-rays and we also have more advanced ultrasound, and rehabilitation medicine.
Dr. Miller’s team has successfully combined innovative vet science with Dr. Dickinson’s spirit. He credits a lot of the success and enjoyment of his practice to his employees.
“We have a great team. I would put them up against anything,” Dr. Miller says. “From the technicians, receptionists, kennel staff, all the way to the doctors, they’re all great. They always know how to read the animals and make them feel comfortable. Our doctors are extremely skilled. And everybody specializes in something different.”
But it’s not just the employees that make his job worthwhile.
Animals attract a lot of unique people, so we have some of the coolest clients on the planet, Dr. Miller says. And were a hospital, so a lot times when clients come in, their animals are sick or are in pain. Sometimes, we don’t know immediately what’s wrong and that’s really frustrating waiting for test results. But, through all of that stuff, we try to make clients feel comfortable, happy, and safe. We make it clear that were going to do whatever it takes to help their pet. And it’s the most gratifying thing we do.
Besides the day to day businesses schedule, Duluth Animal Hospital allows children to come in and shadow doctors. Dr. Miller wants to engage children from a young age who hear the same list of negatives and no’s that he did.
“We want kids to see the positives, and get an idea of what it’s like to operate day to day in an animal hospital. Because going toward Vet School they’re going to hear a lot of negatives and a lot of nos. We want to give kids the other side, the more positive side, as to why this could be a really cool thing to do. We know its hard work and it won’t be easy. But it’s a great profession with lots of opportunity.”
Duluth Animal Hospital also works intensively with Gwinnett Technical Colleges Veterinary Technician program. Many of the employees that work for him at Duluth Animal Hospital graduated from the Gwinnett Technical College Veterinary Technician program. The school has a 98 percent passing rate for Veterinary Technician students a higher rate than most colleges worldwide.
If there’s one thing that Dr. Miller is most appreciative of, its the people of the Gwinnett area and community. He believes that the community support is the reason for their upward and steady success.
We are really grateful to be where we are at this time. We’re in a great community and we have amazing clients. And they allow us to do this job that we really, really love.
Dr. Miller urges people to always take their pet to the vet if they think something may be wrong. It’s not a good idea to believe everything that you read on the Internet. With so much information out there, people sometimes try to diagnose issues with their pets, but this can be a danger to your animals. In order to find accurate information, go to your local vet. And to learn more about Duluth Animal hospital and their services, go to www.duluthanimalhospital.com or call 770-476-3317.