Dr. Dennis Thibeault only makes house calls. More exactly, he only makes farm, pen and kennel calls.
And rather than a white doctor’s coat, Thibeault wears green denim coveralls, rubber overshoes and sometimes, such as when he is handling young piglets, earplugs.
In some ways, Thibeault’s practice began after reading “All Creatures Great and Small,” by British veterinary surgeon James Alfred Wight. “I grew up around animals,” says Thibeault, a Mansfield resident. “And a high school aptitude test suggested I would like a career outdoors with nature science and animals.”
Acknowledging, “It would not work for me to get slapped down in a small animal hospital,” Thibeult worked in office-based practices after graduating from veterinary school at the University of Michigan in 1994. In 2008 he started his mobile vet practice with his niche being “pet and hobby livestock.”
Thibeault estimates that he drives 45,000 miles a year around northeastern Connecticut and Rhode Island providing routine and emergency medical care. Short of X-rays and surgery, his “very unique vehicle” is equipped with many of the tools his patients require, including “a big strap for animals stuck in the mud.”
“It’s a lifestyle” the 45-year-old says, “and you have to enjoy it. Nineteen years later, I still do.”