Dr. Larry Millis opened his veterinary practice, Millis Animal Hospital, on Hanley Road in in 1969. He left Hadley Township as a result of eminent domain and relocated to Big Bend Boulevard.
He wanted to stay in the same area: Today, his practice includes a total of seven veterinarians and is still growing. Millis continues to see patients as they arrive. It's perhaps the only veterinary practice in the St. Louis area that doesn't require appointments except for surgical procedures.
"I still enjoy getting up and coming in," said Millis, noting that he now gets to work alongside his son Tom, who is also a veterinarian.
Millis isn't exactly sure how he got into veterinary medicine. He grew up with animals in a farming community, and being a veterinarian seemed like a good career choice that also would allow him to be the captain of his own ship.
He previously worked for the Railway Mail Service, a now-defunct branch of the U.S. Postal Service whose employees sorted, bagged and tossed mail from the doors of trains at various stops along railroad lines.
Millis said veterinary practice has changed in similar ways as the field of human medicine. For example, pets receive better care—board-certified specialists, emergency clinics and other treatment options are available. And their owners have the option of purchasing pet insurance.
He said his goal and that of the other veterinarians in his practice is to do what is best for each patient on an individual level, without following a set protocol for each visit. They present options available to each client and come to a mutual decision on treatment for their pets. They don't try to force anything on anyone, Millis said.
He owns four dogs and enjoys horse-racing.
Millis said he doesn't have plans to retire anytime soon. He doesn't know what he would do if he weren't at work.
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