DOTHAN, Ala. (AP) — Chris Mixon smiles as she watches her beloved dog, Allie, enter the veterinary clinic.
It seems a normal scene for any pet owner, but there is a difference - this clinic is currently parked outside Mixon's house.
Countryside Mobile Veterinary Clinic has been traveling throughout the Wiregrass since October, delivering veterinary care aimed at residents who can't get their animals to a traditional clinic.
"For somebody that doesn't have family that lives here, this is a saving grace," Mixon said. "There are a lot of people that are by themselves. They need somebody that can do something like this. It's wonderful."
Countryside is the brainchild of Dr. Allison Ivey, a Webb resident and longtime veterinarian who decided last year to take her talents on the road.
"When you look around Dothan, there's already a lot of standard veterinary practices in the standard buildings," Ivey said. "I felt that the market was probably a little flooded in the area. Where I'm from, there's a large senior population. They can't physically bring their animals into the clinic. They have to have somebody come get them, help them load up the animal and help them get to the clinic. I felt this was a niche that had to be addressed without directly competing with everyone in town."
So Ivey contacted an Ohio-based business that specializes in mobile medical vehicles - blood mobiles, mobile ultrasound units and veterinary vehicles.
Outfitted with all the bells and whistles of a standard office, Ivey and her small crew can provide the same services pets receive when they go to normal veterinary offices, though they only deal with dogs and cats.
"We can do anything and everything in here," Ivey said. "We have a surgery room that completely closes off. There's a full surgery table, anesthesia machine, X-ray machine, the same things you'd find in a regular clinic. Everything is done digitally."
Ivey said the state inspector told her Countryside is Alabama's first licensed mobile veterinary clinic.
Residents appear happy such a service is finally available.
"I had some eye surgery, and I could not lift Allie up," Mixon said. "Dr. Allison told me she would come, and if I couldn't get her where she needed to go, she would be here, and she was. I've been with her ever since. It helps immeasurably."
Families with multiple pets can often have trouble getting those animals to the vet.
Ivey said that's one of the biggest advantages of her clinic.
"It works out because we're actually at their home, so an animal can stay wherever it normally stays when they're at home," she said. "We can bring them in one at a time, two at a time, whatever suits them."
So far, Ivey has traveled to homes in Houston, Henry and Dale counties, but she said some Geneva County and Enterprise residents have expressed interest.
The mobile clinic is usually on the road starting at 8:30 a.m. until dark.
Information from: The Dothan Eagle, http://www.dothaneagle.com