Elkader Vet Clinic welcomes recent ISU grad to team

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New Elkader Vet Clinic hire and recent ISU graduate Anna Tichy stands with her horse Buddy.

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register


Growing up on the family farm in Ely, Anna Tichy knew as early as six-years old that she wanted to work with animals. There was an immediate interest in taking care of them, which drove Anna into 4-H all through school. She showed cattle and chickens at county fairs, receiving awards for winning the beef obstacle course. 


This love of animals also introduced her to the area vet, Dr. Alan Beyers, who recognized the interest Anna had and invited the eager youth to help at the clinic—to watch and learn the finer points and inner workings of a veterinary clinic. 


During this time, mostly as a high school student, Anna’s passion for animals developed further. She attended Dr. Beyers on calls, gaining vital hands-on experience as well as something just as important as animal care. Through Dr. Beyers, she saw a calm disposition and someone who never let the moment become bigger than it needed to be. He simply had a way with animals. But he also gave Anna something else: skills, knowledge and information, often quizzing Anna on what she’d seen or participated in. 


The experience was enough to motivate Anna to attend Iowa State University’s veterinary school, where she went beyond the regular classroom instruction, which focused on reading, tests and memorization. She got hands on experience by spending her breaks and vacations visiting clinics. These visits prepared Anna for life after graduation, which occurred in May. 


“College teaches you the basics, but the job teaches you how to survive,” she said. 


It was during Anna’s final year in vet school that she began to realize what she wanted in a clinic and from the job. She was looking for a place with teamwork, mentorship and a family like atmosphere. Mostly, she wanted to work at a clinic that made her like what she was doing. 


In an effort to find such a place, Anna visited over 20 clinics throughout the United States, some as far away as Texas. One place she did not visit was Elkader, as the timing didn’t work out, but it was a place that stood out, even early on in the job search. By the end of the search, Anna had around seven job offers in an industry that is seeing expansion but an exodus of older veterinarians. 


Still undecided, she saw a job site with an ad for a position at the Elkader Vet Clinic. Instantly, Anna noticed it fit what she wanted to do. 


“I thought I’d be a good fit,” she said. 


But that thought needed to be confirmed, so Anna did what is known as a “working interview.” Over the course of four days, she worked with the other vets, went on calls, interacted with clients and patients and did her best to wander about town. What Anna found was a welcoming atmosphere—a place where she could ask questions and where everyone helps out, as well as a mentorship that would teach rather than throw her to the wolves. 


She also found a clinic where a vet is able to take their time, to chat with the client and understand patient’s problems. It’s a clinic where she can learn the names of the clients and the patients, which is the complete opposite of the big city clinics that have the feel of a five-minute drive-thru.


“It’s not just a job, it’s a family. Everyone is a family,” said Anna.


When it came time for Anna to make a decision, it was between Elkader and Texas, and while the other clinic would mean more money, Elkader won the day because it’s close to family and friends. The way the clinic felt like an extended family really sold it well, and on June 21, she officially accepted the job at the Elkader Vet Clinic. 


Like all jobs and relocations, they come with challenges, but thankfully for Anna, those have been few, isolated to inconsistent cell phone reception, learning how to live life without a suitcase in tow and learning the ropes of the job. Those challenges are easily outweighed by the positives Elkader has to offer, such as close proximity to the clinic, walking trails, entertainment, river access, the friendly people and the familiarity a small-town provides. 


As for the job and her expectations, Anna is just ready to use the knowledge and skills she learned at Iowa State and expand on it—to put it to good use and to make a difference. 


“I’m ready for anything, so whatever I need to do, I will do it,” she said.

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