Tuesday, March 9th, 2021

Shopper Client Stories


Welcoming two new doctors to its dedicated veterinary team

by Candance Moore

Angela Oswald, DVM, and Caroline Nelson, DVM

Angela Oswald, DVM, and Caroline Nelson, DVM

What started as a small veterinary practice has grown by leaps and bounds into a well-rounded team offering a wide range of services. Barker Animal Hospital in Chesapeake has recently announced the opening of its high-quality boarding facility, as well as the addition of two veterinarians who are able to accommodate patients' needs six days a week.

"Animals who come here are in very good hands, whether it's a weekend stay for boarding, a routine medical checkup, or an urgent surgery need," Office Manager Megan Rockwell explains.

Sarah Barker, DVM, an animal lover since childhood, opened the practice in 2016 and has carefully managed its growth so as not to lose sight of her initial vision: to provide the best care possible.

She adopted the Fear-Free Initiative that empowers pet owners in keeping a patient calm during treatment and recovery. She also introduced a Wellness Program that saves money by structuring care over monthly installments. When hiring new personnel, she has been selective in bringing together positive, team-oriented people who believed in putting patients first.

As the practice grew, Dr. Barker soon needed another veterinarian in order to maintain same-day urgent care visits six days a week. Knowing the importance of communication and good team chemistry, she waited for the perfect candidate.

Angela Oswald, DVM, is an experienced veterinarian who earned her doctorate from the University of Florida. When her husband's Navy career brought the family to Hampton Roads, Dr. Oswald spent some time looking for the perfect fit. She also wanted to work in a practice with top-notch care and patient-centric values. When she met Dr. Barker, she knew she was at home.

"The atmosphere in this hospital is refreshing," Dr. Oswald shares. "Everyone is here to put the animals first. We work together, share ideas, and come up with solutions, doing the absolute best we can do for each client. I get to go home every night knowing I really made a difference in my work."

As a mother of four and lifelong animal lover, Dr. Oswald understands how overwhelming it can be for families to keep a healthy pet. She particularly enjoys helping pet owners succeed. When she learned about the Wellness Program at Barker Animal Hospital, she was impressed by its results.

"It's a real joy to work in this practice.
It's the kind of place
where we can take our time
cuddling with a nervous dog,
not feeling the pressure to hurry.
The animals here are truly loved."

- Caroline Nelson, DVM

"The program really works!" she says enthusiastically. "I've seen it save a lot of money for people. For pet owners who have budget concerns, Dr. Barker has truly come up with some great solutions."

Aside from routine preventive maintenance, the Wellness Program offers valuable discounts on acute care. Flea, tick, and heart-worm regimens can be added to a plan so that owners don't have to stop by the clinic for monthly purchases. Monthly promotional specials offer further savings. Clients can check the practice's monthly advertisements (or social media) to look out for an appealing offer.

Office Manager Megan Rockwell with a guest at Barker Animal Hospital’s boarding facility.

Office Manager Megan Rockwell with a guest at Barker Animal Hospital’s boarding facility.

A cat person by nature, Dr. Oswald can usually be found calming a frightened feline before surgery or dental work. Although she has an affinity for cats, she loves four-legged friends of all varieties.

Dr. Oswald joined Barker Animal Hospital in 2018. Since she and Dr. Barker share the same approach to medicine, she quickly found that she was able to take on established patients. The two doctors now seamlessly share patient workloads.

The practice primarily serves dogs and cats, but rabbits, hamsters, and similar common furry pets are welcome. Services include dental x-rays, preventive care, urgent care, and on-site surgery. Should a pet need specialized treatment, the practice has relationships with trusted resources.

A third veterinarian, Caroline Nelson, DVM, joined the team in 2019. She's also an avid animal lover, a wife, mother, and one of the most humble, unassuming doctors around. After meeting Dr. Oswald through fill-in work, she was recruited to join the team at Barker Animal Hospital.

"It's a real joy to work in this practice," Dr. Nelson says. "It's the kind of place where we can take our time cuddling with a nervous dog, not feeling the pressure to hurry. The animals here are truly loved."

To add to the medical care, Barker Animal Hospital has also opened a boarding facility that's thoughtfully designed. Cats have a private sound-proof room where they enjoy soothing music and amuse themselves watching a fish tank. Each suite is a mini-apartment with a segregated bathroom, loft for climbing, and a clean glass door that evokes looking through a window.

On the dog side, there are private, offset suites so that little guys don't get over-stimulated. Larger breeds enjoy spacious suites with top-open doors. Each pet has access to lots of light, fresh air, clean surroundings, and the perfect balance of socializing. Daily playtime outdoors, as well as notes about bathroom trips, are captured in reports sent to the owner.

Animals don't have to be established patients to take advantage of boarding. With a quick check on vaccinations and a basic medical exam, animals can usually be admitted the next day.

"Every guest in our boarding care is seen at least once by our veterinary team," Megan notes. "It isn't just an extension of our hospital; it's a seamless addition. If an animal starts to show signs of anxiety or diarrhea, for example, we can contact the owner to arrange immediate medical attention. Sometimes a little anxiety treatment is all that's needed to turn around a pet's boarding experience.

"We see lots of happy animals walk out of here," she says with a smile. "That's a great feeling."

Barker Animal Hospital

480 Kempsville Rd.
Chesapeake, VA 23320