by Andrew Alonzo | [email protected]
Minutes before Dr Raymond Chae left for lunch last Wednesday, the founder and small animal veterinarian at Peppertree Animal Hospital was called into action. Moxie, an elderly border terrier from Claremonter, needed emergency ulcer removal surgery and Dr Chae was the only vet in the area who could take him away immediately.
âNow with COVID and everything, vets are just inundated everywhere,â Dr Chae said.
After successfully removing Moxie’s two abdominal ulcers, Dr. Chae treated the dog and clocked up his lunch, which he agreed to drop by MAIL to the newer animal hospital in Claremont to talk about his practice.
In his youth, Dr Chae explained that he was a big spectator of nature shows and often watched them alongside his father. Although programs like “The Crocodile Hunter” by Steve Irwin, Zoboomafoo, and various Animal Planet documentaries did not lead him directly down the path to vet school, they sparked his interest in helping animals.
When Dr Chae was in his final year of high school, he made a deal with his parents that sealed his career path.
âI always wanted to work with animalsâ¦ I knew I wanted to have a career with animals. [But] you know, considering that you are asian and your parents are [too], you’re going to be either a doctor or a lawyerâ¦ so I said I’ll make a deal to you, I’ll be a doctor but I’ll be an animal doctor, âsaid Dr Chae.
After obtaining his BA in Microbiology from the University of California at Davis, Dr Chae went to Murdoch University of Australia in Perth where he began his veterinary training.
âThe reason I chose Australia was a little different. I didn’t want to … stay [at UC Davis] for another four years I wanted to see the worldâ¦ “I decided to kill two birds with one stone and go to an exotic place while graduating as a vet,” Dr Chae said with a smirk. acknowledging the irony. “[Between Australia and the United States] The care of veterinary medicine is exactly the same.
Since 2008, Dr Chae has been a licensed small animal veterinarian in and around the Inland Empire. In 2013, he opened his first practice, an emergency service animal hospital in Redlands. But after spending almost 24/7/365 in the office for five years, Dr. Chae eventually wore out.
âWhen you work such long shifts, it starts to take its toll on your body. And at that time I had a very young family, I had two children who were very young [a newborn and three year old]. I really couldn’t see my family because I was still working and it was really starting to take a toll on my physical health. In 2018, he sold his Redlands practice to recharge his batteries and spend time with his family.
To keep his skills up to date, Dr Chae began to fill alternate positions for other vets over the next two years around EI. Although he still fulfilled his lifelong call to help animals, he explained that he felt something was missing from his job.
âI missed the client-doctor relationship, being able to see my patients and see how well they are doing,â he said.
When asked when he moved to Claremont, he explained, âIt’s funny because that answer somehow changes. I bought a house here about four years ago, but we demonstrated this house and built [a new one]. So I am technically the owner in Claremont, four years ago, yes. But when did I move in? I moved in on January 1 of this year.
Exactly a month after the move, Dr Chae opened Peppertree Animal Hospital at the east end of Peppertree Square – residents can’t miss the ‘Now Open’ sign.
âWhen I was looking for a place to open my hospital, I noticed a kind of pocket that was missing just around this area where there were no veterinary services. When I first watched COVID was not there. In fact, during the construction of this place is when COVID hit, so I couldn’t stopâ¦ I already took out the loan, âhe said.
As a vet who enjoys face-to-face contact, Dr Chae explained, âIt was difficult when I first opened because I would have loved to open the place and have customers come to see the facility. , because that’s what I like. But instead we had to do curbside service. “
California finally reopened in July, and although humans can currently only enter by wearing a mask and having their temperature checked, Dr Chae is delighted that he can now see his patients in person.
âI sometimes tell my clients that I feel like a pediatrician because these are their furry babies. I feel like when I help their pets it’s really, I feel like helping a family memberâ¦ and because you are helping a family member I have feel like my job is integral, much like any other vet – we work hard, âhe said.
âI’m not the type of doctor to tell clients’ this is what you have to do! I am the doctor I know best. If you don’t, go elsewhere. I don’t do all of that, âhe said. âI really enjoy talking to my clients, having them as a member of the team to treatâ¦ my patient and their pet and see what works best not only for the animal, but for the client’s situationâ¦ and propose a plan [of action] which works best, âhe said.
Peppertree Animal Hospital is located at 320 South Indian Hill Boulevard. To make an appointment, call (909) 766-2880 or visit www.peppertreeanimalhospital.com.