To hear the owner and employees of Bliss Veterinary Services talk about their business it seems like the company is named for the feeling of "bliss" rather than owner’s name.
Sara Bliss, owner, said it’s like telling a story about a few people who spend their entire day hoping to be able to help people and their animals.
"Our entire goal is to provide a service that will not be forgotten and that people will feel truly cared for and feel that their animals are in the best hands possible," she said. "Our day may range from using ultrasound to test a horse for pregnancy at 6 a.m. to spaying and neutering several cats and dogs or removing a stone from a dog’s bladder so it can go to the bathroom easier, to surgery on a bulldog’s eyes so it can manage better, to X-rays for broken bones, dentals for bad teeth, sick dogs and cats, vaccines for cats and dogs, a check-up on a guinea pig, laser therapy on a chicken’s broken toe to visits for ear problems and toenail trims and the list goes on and on. A typical day is not typical."
Bliss said she opened Bliss Veterinary Services on Aug. 1, 2011. It is currently located at 488 E. Canal St. and is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday (330-663-1935).
"I was eight months pregnant with our first daughter, Marie, and I started my own practice when I decided I wanted to be able veterinary medicine in a family-oriented atmosphere and how better to do that than to have own clinic with my own family," Bliss said. "We actually made the decision to start a practice and put everything together for that in less than a month, so it was a very fast-paced, somewhat last minute, but the best decision I could have ever made for my family and our patients.
"I always knew I was going to do large animal (veterinarian services). As a young person, I just wanted to practice on horses but after meeting my husband, raising cattle and then going out west and doing an externship with beef cattle, I realized how much I love working in the food animal industry as well. Of course, once I was pregnant I knew I needed the safety and security of small animal medicine so then I knew I needed to open up own practice so I could work with all species at the pace with my situation. The community was so supportive with both small and large animals and having my daughter with me at all times it was really just the perfect atmosphere and work environment that I could have imagined. It’s really been amazing."
Bliss said she never considered being anything else than a veterinarian, even as a young child.
"All I talked about was being a veterinarian. All I wanted to do was take care of animals. I event built little houses for ants so people wouldn’t run over them in the driveway. I literally lived to take care of animals and also loved being around people and taking care of people. I was just a caregiver. That played the biggest role with me going forward with my education and becoming a veterinarian. Of course I had family support to push me and help me maintain a vision of my goals and dreams.
"I really wanted to stay local. I knew I wanted to be n Newcomerstown and be able to practice on the species I wanted to practice on. I knew had a certain way of treating my clients and patients and my idea of how a hospital and clinic should run. I liked being able to have a more intimate relationship with my clients and my employees and knew how family oriented my practce really is. I just knew that to thrive as a practice and a person and professional and personally, I knew I needed to have my own practice, which meant perseverence, finding courage wherever in weakest moments, having no money and going out there and convincing people that you can take care of one of the most precious aspects of their life. It’s scary but I couldn’t have done it without support of my family, my husband, children and, of course, the clients who trusted me to care for their (animals). Without them giving me a chance ,without their loyalty, I really owe everything to them."
Bliss grew up in Newcomerstown, graduating from Newcomerstown High School, and grew up in house next door to where her newer, remodeled clinic is now.
"I’ve been here my whole life so it was great to come home," she said.
"My favorite things are the smiles on children’s faces when they bring in their puppies or kittens. It’s saving that animal after you told the owner it was most likely not going to make it. It’s comforting the owners in the moments when their pet couldnt make it and you were the one to help ease that suffering and move on and say goodbye to that precious pet. It’s the late night call from a farmer that needs me for his cows and I pull out a brand new baby calf that’s alive and well and it’s the early morning farm calls, watching the sun come up with my coffee and my country music and reflecting on how fortunate I am to be here and do what I love to do and touch their lives and have their lives continually touch mine. Everything I do is my favorite thing about what I do. Everything. Having my children come into the clinic, having their pictures on the wall, having my clients know who they are, how old they are and where they go to school and a client who meets us at the door with a fresh-baked apple pie because they know it’s my favorite. A client who brings us Kennedy’s doughnuts from Cambridge because they know I love sugar-coated longjohns. I’m so fortunate that it’s impossible to put into words; working next door to my dad, having my best friends work for me, having my husband right there along the way, that’s everything. That’s my life and it’s all amazing."
Bliss said there were things people should know about Bliss Veterinary Services.
"People should know that we go to bed late because of this job and get up early because of this job and we look forward to getting in to that clinic and working together to get all of those patients seen; patients that come from anywhere from southern Ohio to northern Ohio, east and west, they come, or we travel to them.
"We absolutely talk every day about how much we look forward to coming to work. We never dread work. The day flies by so fast that we actually wish we had more hours in the day to see more patients and get more things taken care of. We are here to be a part of people’s lives and to make a difference. We look at every person the same way. You can’y change the world for every person and every thing but for that person and that pet you can change the world and we see it that way with every person that comes in. We get tired, we get frustrated, sure, but we absolutely love doing what we do. I’m not sure where else you can get that. I would not want to be anywhere else, working with anyone else. I love the people I work with and know they are there for our patients and our clients. I never have to ask our employees to come in early and never have to ask them to stay late. They want to help work on these animals and help these people find peace, find health, find future and we consider our clients our friends.
"It’s crazy to look out on our parking lot on a busy Friday afternoon and literally see cars on the road because they won’t fit in our parking lot. Our clients tease us about having a flashing sign in the front of the driveway because we don’t need to attract anybody else in. People come in and giggle while they’re waiting in line to check out or get their flea control because we’re so busy but people know we will get them seen and we’ll get them taken care of. We don’t turn people away and work with almost any species. I travel miles and miles and miles in all directions to get to farms where they haven’t been able to get a veterinarian. We try to be that difference that people are looking for and that’s how we get fulfillment, by going that extra mile for their animals and their pets. We’re easy to work with. We’re human, we can make mistakes. We just want people to know we will always do the best that we can to the best of our ability. If you haven’t met us, you should stop by sometime and say hello because we would love, in any way, to touch your lives and touch your pets’ lives, no matter what. We’re here for emergencies and we’re all in this for the right reasons."
"Sara is one of the reasons I got into this business. When we were still kids (not sure of the age), Sara said she was going to be a veterinarian and I was going to be her technician.
"We have always worked exceptionally well together and have been like sisters. Some say ‘Never work for your friends!’ There is no merit in that, but when your friend has the same passion that you do, it’s a little different.
"When I started 4-H is when I met Sara and her family and it changed a lot in my life and where I am now. Those were the best years of my life and so have these almost past five years I have worked with Sara. There’s some to say about that.
"The love of animals has always been the driving factor in where my career went and Sara has always shared that and the love and want to help people. Animals mean more than life to some people and are like, or are, their children. Being someone who shows compassion actual care for those animals is very important to animal owners.
"We love being able to help owners with their pets but our absolute passion and love is being able to help the animals. Make a difference in the lives of our clients and patients is amazing. You can’t always do everything you want or need to do for patients but we always do the absolute best we can with the circumstances we are given, or have.
"What keeps us going and keeps us passionate about our job are the amazing relationships we have with so many of our clients and patients. We are so blessed with amazing people and animals to work with and for.
"As an employee, I am blessed to work in a practice that gets to offer so many state of the art diagnostics to our clients. We are a very small down-to-earth practice that offers many of the same diagnostic options that most corporate veterinarian hospitals do, and for a much lower cost. We have portable digital radiography, full in-house blood work, therapeutic laser, shockwave therapy, ultra sound, large animal and small animal emergencies; surgeries from spay and neuters to orthopedics and emergency life-saving surgires. We also do full service ambulatory services for large and small animals. All of this is accomplished with one doctor, one technician, two assistants and one office manager.
"We may be busier than we want at times but we all love what we do and who we do it with. We are a big family and that’s how we operate. It’s a lot different than most clinics and it’s not for everyone but it’s how we work. All offices work differently but the way we work is the only way we can do it!"
"Originally from Port Washington and I’m in this field because I love animals and helping people. Knowing Sara from 4-H, she has helped me be able to work with animals and people in a wonderful workplace.
"My favorite things are riding horses, being with friends and family and volunteering at my local fire department."
"I am originally from Cleveland. I had a vacation home here and my neighbors sent me to talk to Sara and two weeks later I moved here.
"I love interacting with out clients and knowing that we can help gives me a joy I can’t explain."
"I am originally from Stone Creek and still live there. Since I was little I wanted to work in a veterinarian office and help animals. I’ve always helped wounded animals around the farm, plus I just wanted every animal I could.
"I own a pig business and Sara is my vet. We were working on my farm one day and she asked me to join her team. I was shocked and very blessed to say yes.
"My favorite things are going to work on farm calls. I love going to all the farms, seeing how other farms function and how they are laid out. And, of course, see all the big animals. I also love when we work on puppies and get to make it a fun experience for them and know we are keeping them healthy and happy.
"I live everything about my job, besides the sad endings when we just can’t do anything more for the animal. That is heart breaking. But the satisfaction of watching an animal that comes in sick, weak and sad, and when Dr. Sara knows how to cure him or her and comes back happy and back to normal. That’s the best feeling. Also being there for animals in labor and helping them give birth is not only a miracle but a sign of relief, knowing we helped her and the baby be alive and healthy. That’s what this job is all about."