Growing up on her family’s farm in Columbia County, Ashley Wheatley knew at an early age what career path she wanted to pursue.
“I was always around animals,” she said. “I loved it. My parents said I wanted to be an animal doctor since I was 2 or 3.”
Today, Wheatley is a veterinarian and owner of Greenbrier Veterinary Services, which provides mobile vet services, primarily to Richmond, Columbia and parts of Aiken County.
“I wanted to pursue my own clinic,” she said. “I wanted to directly become a part of the community.”
After graduating from Evans High School in 1997, Wheatley went to Augusta State University and earned a bachelor of science in biology. She then went to Tuskegee University and graduated from the veterinary medicine program in 2005. From there she worked in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Ocala, Fla. It was in Ocala that the thought of a mobile practice entered her mind.
“It was a senior community,” she said. “Many of the residents were not able to drive to appointments.”
She returned to the Augusta area in 2007 and worked at Highland Animal Hospital for five years before opening Greenbrier Veterinary.
It was a challenge to acquire her own client base, she said.
“I utilized social media, Facebook, Twitter and started my own Web site,” she said. “I also went to vendor fairs.”
She focuses on basic health care, physical exams and vaccinations for dogs and cats. An agreement with Walton Way Animal Clinic allows her to perform surgeries there.
When not attending to her own clinic, Wheatley works there as a “relief doctor” from time to time.
There might be room for expansion down the road.
“I would like to be able to take a technician with me,” she said.
The business also might be able to obtain a vehicle designed for just this type of venture.
“It has gone very well,” Wheatley said. “The response has been positive.”