From 1,100-pound cows to 11-pound canines, Dr. Art Tremper has spent the last 46 years tending to their care at Lane Animal Hospital.
He doesn’t regret a moment of his decision to become a veterinarian but he’s decided that this is the best time to cut back his hours and spend more time with his children and grandchildren.
“I am 70 years old, and while I have no regrets about my choice of profession, I realize that many other important things in life were sacrificed,” he says in an email to clients.
“I was on call this past Thanksgiving, and having to leave my family and guests at the dinner table to go into the office was a small reminder of these things,” he says, adding, “Sometimes I feel like I was only a bystander in my kid’s lives, and I want these things to be different in my grandkids lives.”
The decision, he says, “has been a very emotional one for me and I have second-guessed myself many times. But, I’m sure, ultimately, that it is the right one. I am excited about the changes in my life. If I don’t make them now, I never will.”
And, as the New Year dawned this week, “Dr. T” began his semi-retirement, from his first (and only) job after graduating from Michigan State University School of Veterinary Medicine in the late 1960’s.
Dr. T graduated in December, 1967 and began practicing with Wilfred C. Lane on Jan. 2, 1968. The two spent most of their time out on large animal farm calls.
Back then, he says, the veterinary practice had a lot of large animal clients – horses, dairy cows, and sheep. But in the 1980’s and ‘90’s, more small animals – dogs and cats – were coming through the door.
Then five or six years ago, he says, the veterinary practice discontinued its large animal practice all together to focus exclusively on small animals.
“I still miss it,” he says of the farm calls, but a large number of farms sold out, and he found himself spending more and more time in the office.
“Many of you have heard that I am planning to retire, and I would like to clarify things,” he said in an email to clients. “I will continue working on a limited basis (probably at least one day per week) for the foreseeable future.”
Dr. T says he wants to spend more time with his family, something that he wasn’t able to do a lot of with his own three children while being on call and practicing veterinary medicine for all these years.
He’s got three grandchildren he’d like to spend more time with and perhaps do a little traveling as well.
The northern New Jersey native says he always liked animals growing up and spent time as a kennel boy for a veterinarian in Cedar Grove, NJ, but when he got to MSU, it was the large animals that captured his interest.
He and Dr. Wilfred Lane went out on the farm calls and they were joined by Dr. Robert Bowers in 1973. He preferred the small animals, so it was a perfect additional.
The practice grew to include Wilfred’s son, Dr. John Lane in 1995 and his wife, Dr. Margaret Lane in 1996.
For years, it was Dr. Wilfred Lane’s dream to open a beautiful new animal hospital across the street from the space 3,000 space that was next to his home.
Sadly, Dr. Wilfred Lane died in 1996, and the new hospital opened in late 2001.
“It was always his dream and he never saw it materialize,” Dr. T said.
And now a new veterinarian, Dr. Holly Andrick, has joined the practice.
“I know she will do an excellent job, and continue the philosophy and standards of care established by Dr. Wilfred C. Lane 60 years ago,” Dr. T said in an email.
Andrick graduated from MSU in June, and “was almost immediately thrust into working some very long hours, which she handled very well, during my extended illness last summer,” Dr. T said.
He says he’s grateful to all the clients who have been a part of his life all these years and although he admits, “I don’t favor cats because dogs are easier to get along with,” he has a calico cat, as well as a Labrador retriever and two horses, at home.
Lane Animal Hospital is planning a special open house for Dr. T on Saturday, Jan. 11 from 1-4 p.m. at the animal hospital and everyone’s invited to celebrate the life and times and many hours he’s spent caring for animals large and small.
And, you can meet Dr. Holly, talk with all the doctors and technical staff and enjoy light fare, too.