Monday, February 6, 2023

Milliron Monday: Tinker's Broken Leg


X-ray of Tinker's broken leg. Tinker at the barn with Zubie

Abbott "Pete" Smith D.V.M.:  June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010
Virginia Joyann "Jody" Haley Smith: April 2, 1938 - May 9, 2021
Welcome to Milliron Monday where every Monday we celebrate the legacy of Milliron Farm and Clinic, Dr. Pete and Jody Smith. 

"It's too far from your heart to hurt you."
― Dr. Pete Smith

It would be nice if my cat could talk, then he could tell me how he broke his leg! Did he jump from the haymow? Did my mare step on him? Did he get caught in something? I've no clue. After a trip to the nearest veterinarian and X-rays, Tinker was diagnosed with a break of the ulnas and radius. What's the treatment? I was given these options: Ohio State University Vet Hospital (there are two in Columbus), or amputate the leg (!). Of course, an orthopedic vet can plate the break, but I would never consider amputating Tinker's leg unless it was absolutely necessary, and I am a little concerned that amputating the leg was an option. 

Where's a country vet when you need one? I asked why the leg couldn't be reset and cast. Makes sense to me. Isn't that what Dr. Smith would do? I was told that there are no vets in our area (or the State of Ohio) that can do orthopedic surgery on cats except at OSU. Don't you think this is a little strange that we don't have an orthopedic animal surgeon in our area? Or anywhere else in Ohio besides Columbus? Someone, please dial the Universe and let them know that we need a Dr. Smith!

After Dr. Abfall retired, my mare acquired an abscess. I called Foggy Ridge, Dr. Rutter came to the barn. I was impressed with the care and glad that I now have a quality vet for Zubie. I also recommend Dr. Stacy Rourke, Guardian Animal Clinic and Dr. Groah, Morgan Vet Clinic. But, what to do if a cat breaks a leg? 

My animals are part of my family. The vet I took Tinker to assumed I could drive to OSU that same day, which I could not. They gave me three days of medicine to help with Tinker's pain and to keep him comfortable. In the meantime, I had to come up with a plan to get Tinker better quick. He's an inside/outside cat, mostly a barn cat, but we let him in the house when it's cold. He's a sweet, smart, snuggly cat that deserves only the best.

Checking with my farm friends, they, too, were amazed that I was told to go to OSU. Without hesitation, they recommended Dr. Elaine Whalin, Wolf Creek Animal Care, Stockport

Driving State Route 550, past the former Milliron Clinic and Farm, I talked out loud to Dr. Smith and told him where I was going. I am sure he heard... somehow. The country roads to Wolf Creek are windy, but an easy route to follow. Upon arrival, I walked up the steps to the two-story clinic and signed in. We were second in line to see the doctor. 

We were placed in the blue-walled exam room with a window overlooking a working farm. Dr. Whalin came in and gave Tinker a thorough check. Tinker stayed overnight while Dr. Whalin fixed his bones and cast his leg. It was that easy. Expert care should never be taken for granted. 

Bottom line, I love my animals. If you need any veterinarian care, I highly recommend Dr. Whalin and her staff. I will keep you posted on Tinker's progress. Thank goodness I found a country vet! 

Through captivating, powerful, and emotional anecdotes, we celebrate the life of Dr. Abbott P. Smith. His biography takes the reader from smiles to laughter to empathy and tears. Dr. Smith gave us compelling lessons learned from animals; the role animals play in the human condition, the joy of loving an animal, and the awe of their spirituality. A tender and profound look into the life of a skilled veterinarian.


Friday, February 3, 2023

The Barrel Horse Life: An Interview with Amy Davenport

Amy Davenport
Photo by Rodney Davis

The Barrel Horse Life: An Interview with Amy Davenport
by Gina McKnight
From the January 2023 Issue of Florida Equine Athlete
No duplication without permission

Amy Davenport is a horse girl, award-winning barrel racer, and a new puppy owner! She doesn’t have much down time. When not running the barrels, she is the proprietor of The Barrel Horse Life, an online store “shirts, hoodies, stickers and clothing for men, women, and children.” Amy is also the host of The Barrel Horse Life Podcast, interviewing talented and intriguing riders that will keep you engaged and entertained. With thoughtful persistence, intentional hard work, and a passion for everything barrel racing, Amy motivates and inspires all those in her path.

Welcome, Amy!

GM: Congratulations on your success! I enjoy connecting with you on social media and seeing what you’re up to, listening to your podcasts, and hearing what’s new in the barrel horse world. When did you meet your first horse?

AD: I’m not your typical horse girl that grew up with horses her whole life. I didn’t get my first horse, Remmy, until I was 24. I grew up showing my family’s Poland China show pigs until I got into college. Although I always had a love for horses I had no idea how to take care of one. I bought Remmy as a barely broke 4yo, around Thanksgiving in 2009. It was love at first sight! She was a reject cutting horse that didn’t make the cut. We spent a long time just learning each other and having fun. I didn’t even start barrel racing her until I went to a Charmayne James Clinic in 2010, starting slow and steady.

GM: What horse(s) do you currently stable?
AD: My husband Chris and I own 15 acres that we call Double Dee Acres. At our place we have:  Remmy (aka Sister Remmy or MARE!) is a 17yo sorrel mare. She was born a cutting horse and boy can you tell it. Her attitude is your typical mare; very opinionated, impatient and as gritty as they come. Sis (as I call her) doesn’t like kids, change or any other horses in her stall. She LOVES to work, it helps her mind as well as her body. Being the first horse I ever owned she has won me my first belt buckle along with many other awards and earnings. She has the same run every run (as long as I do my job). Remmy will be with us the rest of her life. 
    Jules Solo Sawyer (aka Sawyer or Sawyer Boi) is a 15yo sorrel gelding that I bought from my first trainer, Steve Grey. Sawyer has been my main mount to run barrels on for the last six years. He will make the exact same run every time, again it’s his jockey that gets in his way. He hunts for the barrel and loves to run anywhere he can. I’ve never had a horse that is as athletic and fun as him. After he rounds the third barrel he will run with his ears back and expects a treat the second I get off of him. Sawyer prefers geldings over mares, yet doesn’t have a mean bone in his entire body. He LOVES cookies first, me second and rolling in fresh dirt third. Definitely the most honest horse I’ve ever owned. He has made me into the barrel racer I am today.
    Then there’s Princess Fiona (aka Fiona, FeFe, Baby Girl or Princess). She’s the one that steals the show every time. Fiona is a 17yo red roan mare that is literally the sweetest mare on earth. I can remember a few years ago, my vet came to the house to do her teeth. She sat right on the ground directly in front of Fiona to get a good angle and never even worried about it because she has always been so sweet and is so loving. First thing in the morning, when I come to get her food bowl out of her stall, she puts her nose up because she wants to smell my breath and nuzzle me. I know it’s super weird, but it’s small things like that every day that makes her so sweet. 
    We are Fiona’s nursing home, because she has been diagnosed with Equine Metabolic Syndrome and has severe laminitis. Taking care of her until she tell us she’s ready is an emotionally hard task. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for that mare.

GM: They all sound sweet and lovable. Every rider wants to know the secret to a successful run around the barrels. What's your best advice for racers?
AD: First off, there is no one secret to barrel racing. You will learn what NOT to do more than you will what TO do. My best advice is to work hard EVERYDAY, don’t complain and don’t be afraid to ask questions to the right people. Get a small group of people you trust to help you. Don’t ask your best friend or your neighbor, GET A GOOD TRAINER!!
    I’m what we call a Weekend Warrior. I have a full-time job so barrel racing is my hobby that I do on the weekends. My husband’s rule is “if we aren’t having fun, we aren’t going.” I hate to say it but he’s SO right.
    My second piece of advice is to support your fellow competitors. As many people that we have in this industry, it tends to be a small world. Everybody knows each other, and you never know when you might need their help. It’s a race against the clock, not each other.

GM: What a great motto! I’ve found, too, that the more I embrace others in my field, the more successful I am! What accolades have you achieved in your lifetime?
AD: Like I said, I am a weekend warrior. My goals are never to hit the rodeo road hard or win the NFR. Knowing your goals and how you want to get there is important.
    One of my career highlights was at the BBR World Finals in 2022. I had two great runs in both long go’s, which qualified me for Sunday’s short go. Just by God’s grace, I had the opportunity to have one of my mentors, Joy Wargo, lead me up the alleyway. I had the best run of my life under the bright lights of the Jim Norick Arena. We landed just out of the money in the 3D against the toughest horses & jockeys in the barrel industry. Both my husband and I cried when I came out of that arena. It was just one of those, holy crap, this is the coolest moment of my life moments. 
    One of my goals a few years ago was to win a belt buckle in our local barrel racing circuit, ILBRA. I made out my schedule for the year, along with my work schedule and made sure to attend the best shows to gain points to win that particular buckle. At the end of the season I couldn’t believe that I actually won the year end 2D buckle!
    Most people don’t believe me when I say I’ve only won a few titles in my life including: ILBRA 2D & 4D Champion, IL NBHA Reserve 2D Champion and much more. To much disbelief, I have yet in my career to win first place in a barrel race. We’ve came in second, which was a win in my books. I care more about making great, smooth correct runs and having fun while doing it. I believe that’s why both my horses make the same run every time, from my consistency in training and my relentlessness to be better each day.

GM: Amy, you inspire so many! Your honesty and integrity motivate others to do their best. Walk us through a day in your life with horses...

AD: On the weekdays, I try to start my morning at 4:30am. First I take care of our new puppy, Nacho, then I head to town to go to the gym. When I arrive home at 6:45am, I eat breakfast then I feed horses. Trying my best to be in the saddle by 8am, do chores, Equivibe my horses and try my best in the house by 10:45am. I shower and eat lunch, then the puppy and I head to work. Owning my own salon I am VERY blessed to have a full clientele that has stuck with my for 19 years. I’m typically off by 7pm, then chores again and off to bed by 8:15pm. The weekends are usually spent barrel racing or catching up with stuff around the farm. There’s always something to be done.
    My days are very strict and disciplined. I have to keep a steady pace in the mornings or I’m running late. The mornings are MY time. So I try not to schedule anything or take any calls before 10am or so. Focusing on working the horses with a clear mind is important.

GM: We all have that favorite horse that we will remember forever. Who is your favorite and when did you first meet him/her?

AD: I’ve been super blessed with a few great horses in my life. There was my first barrel racing horse Tex, a 20yo gelding that was completely bomb proof. He could do anything at any time and was a great “first barrel horse” for me.
    Yet my mare Remmy was my first horse I have ever had, so I cannot say she isn’t my favorite. It’s hard to beat a solid mare that has the drive and as much hustle as I do.
    If I had to be honest it’s been Sawyer. I bought him as a “step-up horse” and he has taken my riding to the next level. Together we’ve traveled thousands of miles, won more than I ever expected and had opportunities some people wait a lifetime for. He tends to get “hot” or “on the muscle” easily, so doing things to make his mind comfortable has been trial and error. In which it has made me a tougher competitor and horsewoman. After consistently working and growing together he trusts me 100%. We just “click.” I know him better than anyone. I believe knowing your horse can help in so so so many ways. He also knows me, when I’m in a bad mood or upset about something. I swear horses know, they understand us better than we realize.

GM: Yes, you’ve a new puppy and we want to know all about him...
AD: His name is Nacho, and he’s actually in English Springer Spaniel. His color is called blue tick roan. We got him on October 1 at 8 weeks old. We had just put down our beloved dog Kallie, that we had for 14 years just a week prior. We were so grief stricken and heartbroken that we decided to get a puppy right away.
    We bought him from a kennel in Tennessee that was called HeavenSent Springers, he even has a little heart on the top of his head. I’ve always believe that God has everything planned out for us and he sure did a good job on this situation.
    As we all know having a puppy is a challenge yet it’s so fun to watch them learn and grow so quickly. He loves to play outside, chase our 6 barn cats and has already learned a few tricks. He will give kisses to almost anyone he meets (or a little nibble too)!

GM: Tell us about your podcast – The Barrel Horse Life Podcast. How did it begin?
AD: I started this podcast by myself two years ago. Being a huge podcast fan, I just couldn’t find one that could scratch my itch so to say. So, after doing some research, I jumped in headfirst to the podcast world. I am a one-man show with little equipment, yet it works great for my set up. I’ve had the opportunity to talk with the best people in the barrel racing industry, including Charmayne, James, Stevi Hillman and her husband, Ashley Shafer, Joy Wargo, and so many more. You can listen to the podcast on Apple podcasts, Spotify, and more. 
    On top of that, I decided to launch a brand stemming from the podcast, called The Barrel Horse Life. I have done all the graphic designing of the T-shirts, website and sales myself. My passion to develop a brand that people would be proud to wear was the first and foremost. Often, as barrel racers, we get a bad rap. Through some popular TV shows and social media, people from the non-western industry tend to laugh and look down on us. When in all reality, it’s the complete opposite. If you’ve ever spent more than a few minutes with a barrel horse  trainer, you’ll understand how hard working and proud we are of what we do.

GM: Do you have advice for novice riders and those looking to purchase their first horse?
AD: I am not the best at horse buying myself, every horse that I bought just fell into my lap the way it supposed to. My advice would be to seek to help someone you know and trust. Doing it alone is not an easy task. If it doesn’t feel right, then don’t buy the horse. There’s too many good horses out there to not have the one that suits you. But whatever you do, DO NOT buy an inexperienced horse if you are an inexperienced rider. This makes for a bad combo. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, I did and it was the best decision for me. I still ask for help when I’m needing it.

GM: What does horsemanship mean to you?

AD: I thought a lot before writing this answer to the question because you were right, it does mean something different to everybody.
    To me, horsemanship means listening and understanding your horse. I don’t want to go down to much of a rabbit hole because I could talk for days about this. There isn’t enough horsemanship in the barrel racing industry. This is something that I am constantly working on with my horse on the ground and in the saddle. For me it starts on the ground. First thing in the morning when I walk up to my horse to put his halter on, I try to make sure my attitude is neutral, and I am not going to ride him with any emotion. It’s very hard not to get your emotions involved, especially as a woman. Our emotions can be up and down easily. Doing what’s right & best for the horse to get the desired result you are going for. Also having the knowledge on how to get there. Often I get frustrated and need to take a step back and asses what I’m doing. Typically I am the problem, not the horse. Being humble enough to say “hey, I’m the problem” has been my game changer. Taking responsibility, taking a deep breath and moving onward all while being conscience of where my body is and what I’m telling him to do. That is horsemanship to me.

Connect with Amy…

Facebook @Amy Davenport
Instagram @its_amy_davenport

Amy and her Husband
Photo by Lanie Kay Photography

Marie Littlefield Photography

Traci Davenport, Photography


Monday, January 30, 2023

Milliron Monday: Milliron Pete

Kip Yates' photo of Milliron Pete at the 2013 Pickaway County Fair 

Abbott "Pete" Smith D.V.M.
June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010
Welcome to Milliron Monday where every Monday we celebrate the legacy of Milliron Farm and Clinic, Dr. Pete and Jody Smith. 

Milliron Pete 

Batavia, NY—Milliron Pete made his local harness racing debut for new connections last week after 19 days off and experienced an off-track and road trouble for his effort. But the Northfield Park invader more than made up for that outing on Saturday night (Aug. 27) when he won the $10,000 Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs in convincing fashion.

- August 28, 2016

Sometime last year, I had the great opportunity to connect with Kip Yates. Kip is the proprietor of Yates Cabling, Hilliard, Ohio. In his spare time, he trains award-winning harness racers, including the acclaimed Milliron Pete. Kip was excited to share his story of meeting Milliron Pete for the first time…

I met Milliron Pete at the Hilliard Fairgrounds in 2012. Down the aisle Jason Borowski, a driver/trainer at the fairgrounds, had a nice horse he wanted to sell. The horse had been bred by Larry Hines and Doug Parker. We were sorry to learn that Doug passed away, and Jason became the new owner. Jason came over one night to our side of the barn and said he would take $1,000 for the horse. I looked at my partner at the time and laughed, “Give him the $1,000.” The horse’s name was Milliron Pete. I asked Jason how the horse got his name and he said, “My partner, Larry Hines, is very good friends with Dr. Pete Smith, a renowned veterinarian in Athens County. Larry named the horse Milliron Pete after Dr. Smith.”

The very first night I took Pete out to the track, he walked up the track to the top of the hill, spun around and brought me back down. I thought what have I gotten myself into with this horse? It was December of 2012 and I was going through a tough time in my life and I needed something to get me through; Pete needed something, too. His life wasn’t looking good. He was having difficulty finding his footing, so we settled in and I took my time with him. Finally, he started coming along about March. It seemed Pete never got tired, and he was fast - very fast.

Pete was a Kentucky breed horse, but I couldn’t race him in Kentucky because they hadn’t kept the payments up on him, so I had to race him in Ohio. In June of 2013, I took Pete to Circleville. The very first time I raced him there, he won, and he kept winning. Jason and Larry has a horse that I helped Jason train, her name is Come Along Sadie [an Athens County Fair winner]. She raced at Circleville that day. There were three horses in the race and she finished third. Pete was in the last race of the day. I raced Pete and won. After the race, I gave Pete a bath and walked him to cool him down. Larry was standing nearby and he looked at Jason and I overheard him say, “I think you sold the wrong horse.” I just kept walking.

At the end of 2013, I took Pete to Miami Valley to race. The very first night I raced him he won. At the old Lebanon Raceway, they called him Millie Ron. The next week I took Pete to Lebanon, I walked into the judge’s office and said, “Can you get me in touch with the announcer?” And they sent me to the announcer’s office. I said, “I am the owner of Milliron Pete. The name of the horse is Milliron Pete – look at the word, it’s all one word – Milliron." That night, the announcer slipped and first called him Millie Run then Millie Ron, then finally got it right the third time – Milliron.

I won seven or eight times with Pete. I never met Dr. Smith, but I met Larry Hines. Jason and Larry still race together. They own a horse named Straight on the Rocks, who is Milliron Pete’s half-sister. They are both out of the same mare. She looks identical to Pete; she is the same color, a little bit thinner.

My partner and I sold Pete in 2015. This $1,000 horse that was named for a vet in southeast Ohio made over $40,000 in a year and a half. We got an offer for Pete from a guy out of New York and the time was right. Tim Bojarski [Batavia Downs @] wrote an article about Pete right after we sold him. Pete won four races in a row. They sold him, and he raced for another two or three years and did well.

In harness racing there is one horse that stands alone as far as money made, and that is Foiled Again [2019 Harness Racing Hall of Fame]. He made 7 million in harness racing. He is retired now. They had a farewell tour and took him to all the tracks. I didn’t own Pete at the time, but they took Pete to Cleveland to race. Foiled Again was in the same race as Pete, and Pete won. Pete beat the richest pacer ever.

One day, I heard Pete was ill. I always had a soft spot for Pete and wanted him back just to give him a good home. I heard they put him down about two years ago. He won over 30 races in his lifetime, winning over $250,000.

Thanks, Kip, for sharing! 

More about Milliron Pete:

Through captivating, powerful, and emotional anecdotes, we celebrate the life of Dr. Abbott P. Smith. His biography takes the reader from smiles to laughter to empathy and tears. Dr. Smith gave us compelling lessons learned from animals; the role animals play in the human condition, the joy of loving an animal, and the awe of their spirituality. A tender and profound look into the life of a skilled veterinarian.


Thursday, January 26, 2023

An Interview with Ohio Author Catherine Pomeroy

An Interview with Ohio Author Catherine Pomeroy

The author of two novels, The Gulch Jumpers and Four and a Half Billion People (No Bad Books Press), Catherine Pomeroy writes family-life fiction and thrilling scenarios that entertains and engages readers. Her debut novel, The Gulch Jumpers, “was an exercise in love – a love letter, really, to my “down on the farm” family roots, the power of music, what it means to be a parent, and my belief that law is personal. The story was also a fun way for me to indulge my sense of adventure, travel and the magic of a road trip.”

Welcome, Catherine!

GM: Happy New Year! What is your 2023 New Year's Resolution?

CP:  I’ve given this lots of thought! It’s certainly not a tough question, but I wanted to try to really reflect and answer honestly, for myself as well as for the blog.  The answer is to dig deep and connect with my “why.”  Why I make the choices I do in my personal and professional life. To connect writing and work to a greater purpose and use that as motivation.  In writing, finding the “why” seems linked to identifying the theme of one’s book. And for me, the theme is often not evident at the beginning or even mid-way in the writing process. So, in addition to finding the “why” I suppose my resolution is to keep going, keep trying, get up every day and work at it even while feeling lost, keeping some patience and hope that the “why” will surface and become apparent organically. On a much more mundane level, I also resolve to exercise, eat healthy, etc.  And, or course, to improve and strive to become a better writer.

GM: What is the premise for your new book?
CP:  Four and a Half Billion People, which was released in June of 2022, is a novel about a single mother in small-town southern Ohio grappling with the after effects when her neurodivergent teenage son is arrested for Vehicular Manslaughter. There are elements about the legal system and how juveniles are treated in that system. There are also some speculative elements. The book also includes a strong side story about bicycle touring, including the infamous Tour of the Scioto River Valley (TOSRV), a two hundred-two-day ride from Columbus to Portsmouth and back that takes place annually in Ohio.

GM: What are you currently writing?
CP:  My current WIP is about how a handful of neighbors in an isolated housing development in exurbia start interacting with each other after a solar flare knocks out electricity and satellites. While that is the premise, I want it to be more of a family and human relations story rather than a disaster story.

GM: How do you maintain thoughts and ideas for new manuscripts, etc.?
CP: Reflective time for imagination, but also forcing myself to sit down and start producing something. Getting anything down on paper is a start. One can always go back later and tinker.

GM: Who is your favorite author?
CP:  It’s tough to pick just one. Some of my favorite authors are Homer Hickam, Charles Frazier, Jodi Picoult, Elena Ferrante, and Elizabeth Strout. I recently discovered Kim Michele Richardson who wrote The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. I like anyone who writes well. I especially enjoy stories that are set in Appalachian regions.

GM: Do you have advice for novice writers and those looking to begin their first manuscript?
CP:  Start writing, and if you slip into your zone and a state of flow, keep going!  Later, when you go back to edit, email the document to yourself.  I do this because it allows me to read it on my phone in addition to on my laptop. I also print a hard copy. It’s surprising how many things you catch reading over a document in various formats.

GM: Authors say that writing is easy, but marketing is difficult. Do you have any advice for authors regarding marketing and promotion?
CP:  This is probably my greatest weakness. It is hard not to feel shameless about any self-promotion, but marketing is necessary to connect to readers. Word of mouth and appearing at author fairs and events has worked for me. Word of mouth has especially been helpful getting book clubs to take up my novels. If a reader reaches out with complimentary feedback, I know I should request them to write a review, but I struggle with overcoming my shyness to make that ask.

GM: When you're not writing, what do you like to do for fun?
CP:  I love cycling! I do solo rides and ride with a club when time allows. I set mileage goals for myself. I’ve been fortunate enough to see some beautiful places from my bicycle. I also enjoy going out to dinner and relaxing with a good book.
Catherine riding her bike

GM: List 10 things your fans may not know about you...
  1. I grew up visiting my mother’s childhood home in Jackson County, Ohio, which is where Four and a Half Billion People is set. This was my grandparents’ farmhouse, and later the home of my aunt, who was also a writer.
  2. I’m a child welfare lawyer. My books incorporate quotes from Supreme Court cases.
  3. My inner geek loves the maps and historical information posted at highway rest stops.
  4. When I was a teenager, I twice completed the two-day two-hundred-mile bicycle tour (TOSRV) described in Four and a Half Billion People. I also biked from Cleveland to Mammoth Cave Kentucky and back when I was seventeen years old. The year I turned fifty, I biked from Washington D.C. to Pittsburgh.
  5. Need to come up with a big idea as “sixty” approaches!
  6. Sometimes I go to hunt for a specific book or author, but I also really enjoy free form browsing at the library. There’s no cost to borrowing a library book so giving something unusual a try is literally a no-risk/no-guilt treat.
  7. During the pandemic, with my grown children living out-of-state, and other relatives equally as far flung, I started a private Facebook group where we can all post pictures of what we are making for Sunday dinner. Not everyone participates, and it’s a bit of a friendly competition, but a nice way to stay in touch.
  8. Sometimes I go months at a time without writing, and then get back into it.\
  9. I love music – live concerts, listening in my car, playing the violin. Researching various genres, artists and musical history for my first novel, The Gulch Jumpers, was enjoyable.
  10.  Donuts? Oh, yes. Yes, yes.

Connect with Catherine:
Twitter: catpomeroy
Purchase Catherine’s titles at or on Amazon and other bookselling platforms.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Milliron Monday: At the Office

Dr. Pete Smith in surgery at Milliron Clinic, Athens, Ohio 

Abbott "Pete" Smith D.V.M.:  June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010
Virginia Joyann "Jody" Haley Smith: April 2, 1938 - May 9, 2021
Welcome to Milliron Monday where every Monday we celebrate the legacy of Milliron Farm and Clinic, Dr. Pete and Jody Smith. 

"If you stay too late at work, you aren't organizing your work well enough. If you're here after seven o'clock - unless it's an emergency - I'm charging you rent."
― Jody's newspaper clipping with this memo

Every office has its hierarchy of personnel. It was no different at Milliron Clinic. Jody found it difficult not to intervene and send help when needed, if only in the form of a memo to staff. No one staff member is singled out. Now, it's only for engaging reading.

Memo to Staff: June 10, 1998

    I have one main objective in getting involved with this office - to keep it from getting over involved with my personal life. Example: I have several social and personal contacts of my own with people with horses and dogs. Ninety percent of the time, I hear how well everyone does at Milliron Clinic (sometimes against great odds). Occasionally, I get feedback of one employee being rude (inexcusable but understandable, considering how inconsiderate some clients can be).

    If everyone involved here could mainly be responsible for doing what they do best, things would run more smoothly and not overlap into personal problems as frequently.

    Dr. Smith is most eminently qualified as a surgeon, diagnostician, nutritional expert, animal health consultant, etc. His time should be free for these tasks and uninterrupted whenever possible. All other jobs should be assigned elsewhere - secretaries can and should screen out phone calls and be sure Dr. Smith is not interrupted when with a patient, client, etc. except for an emergency. He should return the call at his convenience, or if they prefer, particularly if long distance, they should call back at a designated time when Dr. Smith can be called to the phone.

    Dr. Smith must, however, be in charge of and be consulted on all vital matters of policy, as he is ultimately responsible - legally, financially, and morally - for everything that happens at the clinic. If in doubt about a policy, reason for procedure, whatever, consult the person in charge of that area. If not satisfied, gather all your facts, ideas, etc., then consult Dr. Smith and the two of you work out a reasonable solution to the problem.

    If you are assigned a task you cannot handle, get help, trade assignments, whatever, until you feel confident to handle it. (The maturing effects of this office on those who manage to survive are very impressive). We have all the talent we need here if we can just organize it and use it wisely.

    My main motive in all this is essentially selfish. I would like more of my husband to myself, uninterrupted by office matters, unbothered by financial worries, etc. I realize this will take time, but I'm willing to be patient - tomorrow is soon enough. Seriously, a little improvement every day, day after day, is what we're after.

    Three specific objectives:

    A. Communication improvements.

    B. Efficiency in every area - proper attitudes, proper equipment to get jobs done well and in reasonably good time, correct priorities, correct emergency procedures needed.

    C. Safety, welfare of man and beast; be sure your actions aren't causing more problems than they are helping. Lack of thought, a moment's carelessness can cost a child's life. Examples: medications, closed doors, barriers to children. 

    Each staff member must take personal responsibility (and hopefully, pride) for his/her own job. Wear nametags - nicknames, CB handles, whatever is reasonable would be acceptable.

Notes from staff:

Through captivating, powerful, and emotional anecdotes, we celebrate the life of Dr. Abbott P. Smith. His biography takes the reader from smiles to laughter to empathy and tears. Dr. Smith gave us compelling lessons learned from animals; the role animals play in the human condition, the joy of loving an animal, and the awe of their spirituality. A tender and profound look into the life of a skilled veterinarian.


Milliron Monday: Tinker's Broken Leg

  X-ray of Tinker's broken leg. Tinker at the barn with Zubie Abbott "Pete" Smith D.V.M.:   June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010 ...