Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Mitzi Schepps.
Dr. Schepps, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to be a veterinarian. After attending the University of Georgia as an undergrad, I received my Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida in 1990.
I practiced conventional Western medicine and surgery, specializing in small animals and exotics, for nearly 10 years. After the birth of my second child, I put my career on temporary hold to raise my two handsome boys, Zack and Noah. During this hiatus, I played guitar and taught music at Temple Kol Emeth, my synagogue’s preschool, coached many teams, gave lots of “how to be a vet” talks at career days, volunteered much of my time at the boys’ schools, worked at their summer camps, raised lots of money for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society via Team in Training as well as for breast cancer via the Atlanta 2-Day Walk, and organized and ran many events for my synagogue. Lately, I have spent many volunteer hours as a band parent of the Lassiter High School Marching Band, with my favorite job being part of the Equipment Crew (Roadies)…they call me the “roadie-chic”. In addition to my children, I share my life with my wonderful husband, Ed, our two rescued terrier mutts, Mordechai and Tavi, and my 11 backyard chickens. Full disclosure: I have OCD (Obsessive Chicken Disorder!!!).
So, how did Wellness Waggin’ Acupuncture come to be? Several years ago, I was introduced to acupuncture, and the comfort of house calls, when my 14 year old dog, Teva, couldn’t walk due to severe arthritis in her hips. After the third treatment, she was not only walking, but prancing throughout the house. She received acupuncture regularly and lived a good, quality life for two more years. I saw first-hand how well this ancient modality worked and it left a huge impression on me, as well as how comfortable and stress-free it was for Teva to get treated at home.
The story continues with me being at the right place at the right time. During the fall of 2012, I attended a veterinary continuing education seminar that was the inspiration for me to re-launch my career. It was a lecture on Canine Rehabilitation and Integrative Medicine that got my juices flowing and I knew that I had once again found a passion to pour myself into. Immediately, I started working at a veterinary rehabilitation and fitness clinic and started taking classes at The Canine Rehabilitation Institute in Coral Springs, Florida in the subjects of rehabilitation, physical therapy, neurology and canine sports medicine. After many hours of hands-on course work, exams and an internship, I became a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist (CCRT) in the spring of 2013.
Wasting no time, I started my intensive studies in acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) at The Chi Institute in Reddick, Florida in the summer of 2013. Finally, in January of 2014, after completing 130 hours of course work, passing two final exams (oral and written), submitting a detailed case report and completing a 30 hour internship, I earned my Certification in Veterinary Acupuncture (CVA). WHOOO WHEEE! The journey into TCVM and has been nothing less than spectacular and I have never looked back!
Chinese medicine is all about balance, the yin and the yang. An integrative approach to health care offers the perfect balance of both Western (conventional) and Eastern (TCVM) philosophies. Wellness Waggin’ Acupuncture emerged out of my desire to offer my patients this perfect balance, in the comfort and convenience of their own home.
I am so blessed to be able to do what I love and love what I do!
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The most difficult part was learning how to start and operate a small business since there were no courses on this subject in vet school. From the many different licensing requirements, designing a logo, building a website, figuring out how to use social media platforms, inventory, advertising, billing, etc. it was a full time job just to get the business launched. The most difficult hurdle was trying to figure out how to manage my medical records and client data base while being mobile. After about 6 months of struggling with this, I happened upon a new company, called Vetter, offering a cloud based software system to manage veterinary practices. They were the answer to my prayers and I have been using them ever since.
Wellness Waggin’ Acupuncture – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Wellness Waggin’ is a 100% mobile practice that provides relief for pets in pain using veterinary acupuncture, laser therapy and rehabilitation, in the comfort of home.
I specialize in using non-invasive procedures, and Chinese herbal remedies, to improving quality of life for animals who are suffering from things like arthritis, back issues, hip dysplasia, knee problems, hind leg weakness or age related issues.
I am very proud of how my business has taken off by word of mouth, both through satisfied customers and by referrals from other veterinarians. Since I make it a policy to not provide services that are offered by the client’s regular veterinarian, I am not in competition with conventional veterinary practices. I strongly believe that Western (conventional) and Eastern (alternative) medicines complement each other; therefore, the client doesn’t need to pick one with the exclusion of the other.
While acupuncture and laser therapy have gained in popularity over the past several years, very few practitioners are providing these services in the patient’s home. Not only does this provide a huge convenience factor for the owners, but it is much less stressful for the pet to be treated in their own environment.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
The most rewarding cases for me to treat are dogs who are paralyzed from a back injury. Often times the prognosis is poor without surgical intervention, which is not always an option for a lot of people. My number one goal is to get the animal out of pain, followed by getting them to walk again. The before and after videos of these cases are always astonishing and make my heart swell with pride, reconfirming why I do what I do.
- Initial Examination and Acupuncture Treatment: $136
- Follow-Up Examination and Acupuncture Treatment: $100
- Travel Surcharge per visit is based on mileage and time to travel, $15-$50
- Website: www.wellwag.com
- Phone: 404-579-7806
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WellnessWagginAcupuncture/