It was Oxford’s good fortune when Kelsey Hanson, DVM rolled into town. Not to overlook her husband, Lachlan, who is also a veterinarian. The dynamic duo now are expanding Crossroads Animal Hospital in some exciting new areas. HottyToddy.com’s Steve Vassallo recently visited with the young, outgoing visionary.
Vassallo: It’s impossible not to get enthused when visiting with you. Have you always been this upbeat and motivated?
Hanson: It’s hard not to be upbeat when I get to do a job that I love so much. And I always enjoy talking to people about the profession.
Vassallo: Your love for animals began at a very young age. Why so?
Hanson: Growing up, we always had pets. My parents have always treated our pets as if they were another member of the family. I remember when I was little, I loved going to the vet with my parents. I wouldn’t say a word, but I would just watch and listen to everything the vet did and said. When we were asked to draw our favorite place at school, I drew the vet’s office. For as long as I can remember, I just knew I was supposed to be a vet.
Vassallo: You have previously talked about the bond between people and their pets that inspires you.
Hanson: A lot of people think veterinary medicine is all about animals, but the only reason animals ever walk through the door is because their pet parents bring them to us. I get a lot of enjoyment out of seeing how much animals mean to their owners and how helping their pets can in turn help them. Sometimes that pet is a surrogate child, a beloved companion, or a reminder of a lost loved one and in each case, the work I do for their pet can have a profound impact on that owner also.
Vassallo: Growing up in New Orleans, you had a mentor. A lady veterinarian served as quite a role model.
Hanson: I volunteered for Dr. Nix as a 15-year-old and then worked as a veterinary assistant for her. She was always supportive of my dream to become a vet and this opportunity gave me the push I needed to realize that dream. I learned a lot about what it takes to be a good vet: listening to people, caring for their animal as your own, and most importantly, treating the staff as if they are family. These are lessons which I still apply today. I’m thankful that she took an interest in me.
Vassallo: Since entering your profession, describe what has been the greatest challenge to date.
Hanson: I think my greatest challenge is every veterinarian’s greatest challenge: accepting the fact that we can’t save them all. Veterinary medicine itself is hard – there is a lot to know, and the learning never stops. But no matter how much you know or how much you do, there are always those animals that can’t be helped. The cases that upset me the most are the ones where both the owner and I did everything we possibly could, but it wasn’t enough.
Vassallo: On the other side of that nickel, what has been the greatest satisfaction?
Hanson: Well that’s easy…it’s when I am able to save a pet. The most enjoyable moments of my career are when a pet comes to me sick, critical, or otherwise in bad shape and I am able to diagnose and then correct the problem. To be able to tell an owner that their pet is going to make it and then see them reunited is priceless. This is why I especially love surgery because I’m able to fix something that gives that pet a second chance at life or a chance at a better life.
Vassallo: Let’s shift gears for a moment and get your observations regarding life in Oxford beyond the animal hospital.
Hanson: Oxford is a great place to live! It was hard leaving New Orleans but my husband and have fallen in love with the rolling hills and woods here. It’s such a beautiful city and the people here are some of the friendliest and most gracious I’ve met. Oxford really is the jewel of Mississippi!
Vassallo: How does Mississippi compare to Louisiana in your view?
Hanson: Louisiana (to me) is parades, food (especially crawfish), music and family. But Mississippi has so much natural beauty and such breathtaking scenery, that it makes up for missing out on those things easily. The calm of Mississippi is definitely a nice change from the noise and color of Louisiana.
Vassallo: Love of canines is extremely high on my ladder as is yours. I’m going to name a breed. Tell us what immediately comes to mind: Border Collie.
Hanson: Intelligent and crazy. I have a Border Collie mix, and if she’s not running through the woods at full speed for hours, then she’s causing havoc in my household. They are very smart breed (almost too smart) and can be trained to do all sorts of things, but they are so full of energy that it borders on mania. They certainly make life interesting though!
Vassallo: Your (August) planned dog daycare facility overhaul will truly add an exciting new dimension to Crossroads.
Hanson: We’ve offered doggie daycare for the past few years, and it has grown steadily to the point that we need to expand. We are going to more than double our current space and will be surfacing the entire space with pet friendly artificial turf. There will be some other exciting environmental enrichment being installed that you’ll have to wait to see!
Vassallo: While we’re at the dog track, what is your favorite breed?
Hanson: I always used to say that all breeds are my favorite. I just truly love all dogs – each breed has something unique about them that makes them awesome. But if I had to pick just one, I’d have to pick Pomeranian. As a breed, they are very misunderstood. I think they are judged pretty harshly because of their size. They really are just sweet little lap dogs. They do know how to make a lot of noise for such a small package, though!
Vassallo: What is the biggest mistake that a dog owner can make regarding the health of the pooch?
Hanson: Not keeping their dog on heartworm preventative! I can’t stress it enough. Heartworms can be fatal, but they are so easily preventable. We even offer 6 month heartworm shots now for those (like myself) who have trouble remembering a monthly pill. Being in the Mississippi, we see a lot of heartworm disease here. By the time we see the signs of it, it’s too late. Prevention is so important, especially in this area of the country.
Vassallo: Moving to your personal likes and dislikes, name a few places on your bucket list that you’re anxious to visit.
Hanson: Greek Islands, Switzerland, and Ireland are probably next on our list. My husband and I actually keep a list of places we want to go, and it grows longer every week! I have done a lot of traveling within the United States, so it’s time for me to explore the rest of the world!
Vassallo: You and your husband have definitely gotten involved in the community quickly coupled with a vision of many great things ahead.
Hanson: Although we are not from Oxford, we see this as home. The people of Oxford have been very welcoming, and it’s great getting to know every single family member, including the furry, four-legged ones. We hope with time that we can continue to grow our bond with the community and continue to do our part as members of that community. We’re especially excited to put our stamp on this year’s Christmas parade!
Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is an active Economic Development Consultant working with communities globally who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 985-852-7745.