In the 29 years that Dr. Jay Rowan has been a veterinarian, he’s seen endless adventure all while overcoming challenge after challenge within the industry—but no matter what he’s faced, he wouldn’t change a single moment of anything he’s seen, done, or experienced.
Because it all led him to Paoli Vetcare. Dr. Rowan opened up his animal hospital in 1996, a dream he’d been harboring since he was a young, veterinarian student working his way through school Vet School at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.
You know those “where-will-I-be-in-five-years” plans that high school, college, and graduate students are sometimes asked to sketch out? Owning his own veterinary practice was at the top of Dr. Rowan’s five-year plan when he graduated in 1990.
Fast-forward six years in the future (he almost really made that five-year deadline,) and he finally had his own veterinary practice to shape, grow, and decorate—and decorate he did! (You’ll want to keep reading to hear more about this, trust me.)
Dr. Rowan’s desire to run his own practice definitely dated back further than just his vet-school-five-year-plan-days: his true, burning desire to be a veterinarian actually started much, much earlier than that.
Sure, he remembers doing his 8th-grade career report on wanting to be a vet, but that overwhelming call to veterinary medicine probably goes back further than memory can reach.
He definitely suspects that it all started as a very young boy when he willingly took on all the responsibilities of caring for the family pups, two black & tan German Shepherds named Greta and Thor.
He’d feed them and take them on daylong walks, making sure they were always well taken care of. While part of this could be credited to a child’s love for their pets, Dr. Rowan felt, even then, that his passion for animals went much further than just being a dog person or a cat lover.
For him, becoming a vet was a strong draw, a calling he could almost tangibly feel.
You can’t really drift into being a vet,” said Dr. Rowan. Most vets don’t fall into the profession; it requires years of hard work.
“It’s a calling,” he said. “It’s something you’re committing your life to and allowing to overtake you. Even after 29 years, I’m still throwing my whole being into it.”
For Dr. Rowan, there’s really no true distinction between being a vet and every other facet of himself—father, partner, antique collector.
“I care about my life out of work, of course,” Dr. Rowan said, “but a lot of my life—all of it, really—is invested into being a vet and running this business. That specific part of my life truly takes over most of my life overall, and I’m more than OK with that, I’m happy about it. It’s who I am.”
Paoli Vetcare is everything to Dr. Rowan—something he’s dreamed of for a long time, something most vets strive to achieve. Veterinary medicine has always been sort of an entrepreneurial profession, which, to Dr. Rowan, was another big draw to becoming a vet. Most vets, from the second they decide to enter veterinary medicine, have already zeroed in on the dream to run their own practice.
“Owning my own practice has been fulfilling in a lot of ways,” Dr. Rowan said. “Sure, there are headaches like there would be with any business—don’t get me wrong—but this is definitely what I’ve always wanted to do.”
That passion, that drive, that overarching desire to follow through on a dream that sparked from a young boy’s love of animals is what built Paoli Vetcare into the respected and highly-revered facility that it is today.
Obviously, having that career drive and dream motivation both help to create a successful veterinary care office —but a business can’t stand on passion alone. That’s where, according to Dr. Rowan, Paoli Vetcare’s staff, their combined experience, and their passion for problem-solving come into play.
“Our experienced staff and their competence definitely come into play when running a successful business,” Dr. Rowan said, “but honestly, when I think about what makes us stand out, it’s our approach to problem-solving.”
A lot of the work that Paoli Vetcare takes on is preventative healthcare—think fleas, ticks, heartworm, teeth cleanings. All of that is vital, but it’s also routine. Dr. Rowan thinks that the truly unique heartbeat of the clinic comes out to play when cases are much less clear. His clients appreciate his remarkable knack for problem solving allowing him to treat the majority of his patients in house—reducing the need for referrals to expensive specialists.
The other thing that Dr. Rowan thinks makes Paoli Vetcare so beautifully different? Patient follow-ups and case continuity. “I think anyone can do this well, but a lot of vets just don’t—it’s a matter of elbow grease and making sure we always follow through,” he said. Dr. Rowan often calls clients to check in on their pets and to make sure the symptoms they came in for are resolved. All of that—coupled with their commitment to always having punctual appointments and spending at least 30 minutes with patients—creates the successful formula behind Paoli Vetcare, according to Dr. Rowan. Well— that, and the décor.
The entire office, from floor to ceiling, has been carefully decorated with creatively curated antiques—all by Dr. Rowan himself. Sure, he’s passionate about caring for animals, but his antique collecting could very well rival that passion on a good day on eBay.
Everything in the office has been collected for decades to create the perfect antique vet’s office, all meaningfully put together to entertain, inspire, and welcome. Think old road maps from 1933 featuring dogs in cars, 1920’s fruit label crate labels adorned with cats and dogs, Bulgarian exam room signs from the 1950s. Even though the entire office—from the front reception room to the exam rooms in the back—is artfully decorated with unique antique pieces, Dr. Rowan ensures that all the A-list pieces are displayed where clients can see them, including his most prized possession.
The piece de resistance—the 7-foot-long aluminum Greyhound dog that used to be bolted to the sides of Greyhound buses.
The art, décor, and timeless pieces are endless—so much so that Dr. Rowan is continually reworking the decorations to fit everything in tastefully. To truly understand the crafty curation à-la-Dr. Rowan, you’d have to step inside the clinic. You won’t be sorry you did!
“I’m always thinking about how I can keep things a little different,” Dr. Rowan said. “We want to keep our clients happy, we want to do our job well, and we want to show them that we care about their pets. One way we strive to do that is by how we present our practice.”