Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

Barker Animal Hospital Story


A foundation of compassion for animals and those who love them

by Kymberly Bach

Dr. Sarah Barker

Dr. Sarah Barker

Dr. Sarah Barker of Barker Animal Hospital is very excited about the new boarding facility she is adding to her growing practice. Located in the Greentree Commons Shopping Center on Kempsville Road in Chesapeake, the two-year-old hospital is already beautiful; the additions will make it even more accommodating to Dr. Barker’s furry patients.

The new boarding facility will include sixteen new dog kennels, and eighteen fully soundproofed cat condos.

“A big stressor for many pets is hearing and seeing other animals,” Dr. Barker explains, “so there will be music and video playing in the background. It’s like calming white noise for animals. Interestingly enough, studies have been conducted that have determined which colors, rhythms and beats have the most calming effect on different species. We will play specific music for dogs and cats. Our boarding facility will be a ‘fear-free’ environment, which means no pets boarding with us will have to confront other animals face-to-face. While they are here, they will be housed in completely private suites.”

“Each pet that we see is individually assessed
based upon their current life-stage.
This gives us some flexibility
in recommending to our clients
those procedures and medications
that will specifically meet
their pet’s healthcare needs.”

—Dr.  Sarah Barker

“These will be large, four-by-six foot luxury suites,” Dr. Barker continues. “We’ll have a special area for more timid dogs—a place not visible to our other canine guests. The cat condos will also be spacious, with glass fronts instead of bars, great  ventilation, and extra shelves for our feline guests to jump around on. And I plan to have a fish tank there for our cats to watch. Of course, that setup will be totally safe for the fish,” she adds with a laugh.

Depending on the size of the animals, multiple pets from the same family may potentially be boarded together. Although the new facility will be geared primarily toward dogs and cats, Dr. Barker will also be able to board guinea pigs and rabbits. For the safety of all boarders, each pet must be current on their vaccinations. (Clients may call the hospital for more information on specific requirements.)

Of course, maintaining the health of pets continues to be Dr. Barker’s main focus.

“We offer a Wellness Program, which is the easiest way to keep a pet healthy,” she explains “Thorough biannual physical examinations can help detect any issues that may come up. The program covers the routine preventative care that we recommend be done on an annual basis. Each pet that we see is individually assessed based upon their current life-stage. This gives us some flexibility in recommending to our clients those procedures and medications that will specifically meet their pet’s healthcare needs.”

Barker Animal Hospital offers a variety of  Wellness Program packages that break the cost of yearly preventative care into 12 affordable monthly payments. Depending upon the plan chosen, clients can receive unlimited office visits, waived examination fees, and up to half off the cost of routine preventative care. There are three different levels in the Wellness Program, and pet owners can use the chart on the Barker Animal Hospital website to determine their pet’s age in “people years” and which program best suits them.

“Because we’re coming up on our second anniversary, we will waive the standard $50 set-up fee for anyone who signs up for one of our Wellness Programs between January 2 and January 7, 2018,” Dr. Barker announces proudly.

Often times, a pet’s oral care is overlooked by their owners—even though it can have a major impact on the animal’s overall health. Many times, Dr. Barker sees a patient after it’s too late to address issues triggered by dental neglect. To prevent such an outcome, Dr. Barker offers Wellness Programs that include a yearly complete dental prophylaxis, ideal for older dogs. Pets are completely anesthetized during a dental prophylaxis. The procedure includes a thorough oral exam with dental charting, full mouth radiographs, scaling above and below the gum line, followed by polishing of the teeth and the application of fluoride. As with people, dental exams are an important part of  a pet’s preventative care.

Emergency care, as well as services related to nutrition and behavior, are also offered by Dr. Barker. Understanding that it often can be difficult for clients to bring their pets to the  vet on week days, Dr. Barker offers evening, Saturday and Sunday hours. Same-day appointments are also available, and can be conveniently scheduled by calling the hospital directly or by visiting on its website.

Barker Animal Hospital participates in the Veterinary Care Charitable Fund, which is sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF).

“By participating with AVMF, we are able to assist Good Samaritans who bring in strays, as well as low income families and individuals who are otherwise unable to afford adequate healthcare for their pets,” Dr. Barker says. “It’s important for us to get their pets the care they need. We also like to give back to our local community by taking part in the annual Bark in the Park event and other programs sponsored by the Chesapeake Humane Society.”

A graduate from Ross University, Dr Barker completed her clinical studies at Texas A&M. She and her husband Michael, are the proud parents of two children: six-year old Sadie and two-year-old Ethan. As a family, they enjoy camping at different campgrounds across Virginia.

Since she was very young, Dr. Barker has always known that veterinary medicine was her calling. She enjoys the problem-solving and scientific aspects of Veterinary medicine but, first and foremost, what motivates her to provide the best possible veterinary care possible is the compassion that she feels for her patients and the families who love and care for them.

“From the time I was little, I’ve always loved animals,” Dr. Barker says. “That’s why all of us here at Barker Animal Hospital treat your pets like the valued family members they are.”

Front row: Dr. Sarah Barker and Phoenix, Office Manager Megan Rockwell  and Aniken  <BR>Back row: Melissa Day LVT, and Charlene Stewart LVT

Front row: Dr. Sarah Barker and Phoenix, Office Manager Megan Rockwell and Aniken
Back row: Melissa Day LVT, and Charlene Stewart LVT

Barker Animal Hospital

480 Kempsville Rd.
Chesapeake, VA 23320