Michelle Bader

A Forever Home

If an animal comes to the Family Pet at Perry Creek clinic needing a home, there is a good chance Dr. Michelle Bader will find them a new forever home.

And chances are that home is Bader’s own house.

Like the time a cat ran into the glass doors at the Sioux City (Iowa) clinic. A vet technician ran outside to bring the cat in for treatment. Today the cat lives with Bader and her husband, Brad, after efforts to find the owner failed.

In all, Bader has two dogs and four cats.

“We have three fish tanks as well,” she said. “We’ve adopted them from rescues. Others, the owners have given up. One of the cats we have had a broken jaw.

“It just happens. It’s not like I’m going looking for animals and I always check with Brad before I bring another animal home.”

Bader is making up for lost time. She says her family didn’t have any pets until she was in high school. Despite that, she says her career path was set at an early age. After she job shadowed a small animal clinic in Lincoln, Nebraska, her profession was decided.

“That experience cemented for me that I wanted to be a veterinarian,” she said.

The Family Pet at Perry Creek clinic is Bader’s second stop after graduating from Iowa State. She spent a little more than two years at a small animal practice in Springfield, Illinois, before moving to Sioux City.

Despite all of her training, Bader says she was “scared out of my mind” on her first day at the Springfield clinic. This despite the fact her first patient was a wellness appointment only required updated vaccines/

“I don’t want to make mistakes,” she said. “I thought I would miss something or make a wrong diagnosis. My clinic did a good job of easing me into seeing patients and after I finished with that first appointment, I thought to myself ‘oh my, I’m a doctor now.’”

Over the ensuing decade, Bader has gained confidence that comes with time and repetition. And these days, it seems she sees more and more unusual cases.

“If a challenging case comes through our doors, it usually ends up with me,” she said. “I really enjoy those – it makes the job fun and interesting.

A recent case was a hamster who was presented after they had stopped eating. Bader says this typically means the pet is nearing the end of its life.

She started the hamster on antibiotics and expected the animal would die at home. Instead two weeks later the hamster returned to Family Pet at Perry Creek.

“He was eating and was much better,” Bader said. “When I can fix things or make an animal better it is really rewarding.”