July 23, 2006 – Dr. Jan Perkins loves being her own boss at St. John Mobile Pet Care. The St. John veterinarian bought Dr. Andrew Williamson's mobile veterinary van in December and parks in Coral Bay and Cruz Bay two days a week to tend to the island's pets.
From noon to 5 p.m. on Mondays, she parks outside the Animal Care Center of St. John in Cruz Bay. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays she's parked behind Skinny Legs Bar and Restaurant in Coral Bay.
"For the first time in my life I feel like Marcus Welby," she said, speaking about the benevolent physician of television fame.
She said she finds that her clients really appreciate her care of their animals.
Perkins said that while she needs to make a living, she can adjust her prices according to the customer's financial situation. And she can help out with things like a troubled birth by one of the island's donkeys. She also did a caesarean section on a goat in delivery trouble.
"It was exciting," she said.
Perkins said that the Fed Ex delivery man brought her more than packages of medical supplies. One day he showed up with a goat that had been hit by a car. She sewed the goat up.
"I feel so good. I'm able to give something back," she said.
Perkins and her husband, contractor Bruce Fielding, moved to St. John four years ago. She spent two years working for Cruz Bay Canines, Cats and Critters before joining the ranks of commuters to St. Thomas, where she worked at Imperial Animal Hospital.
When Williamson was ready to sell his van, Perkins jumped at the chance to stop commuting.
Perkins, 52, studied veterinary medicine at Washington State University in her native state of Washington. She said that when she and her husband decided they were ready to move, he started building their Coral Bay area house.
When they first moved in, they lived in an eight-by-10-foot shack. Like many V.I. residents, their house still isn't finished, but it's finished enough to be home.
"It's a way of life," she said, speaking of how many people live in their houses while they build.
Fielding's 27-year-old daughter, Lea, also lives with them, as well as their dogs, Barney and Frankie; cats Spooky, Abby and Porkchop; and seven red-footed turtles.
When she's not at her post in the mobile veterinary van, Perkins said she's busy gardening in her yard and walking – she did the 8 Tuff Miles race in February.
"And I'd like to get back into swimming," she added.
Appointments are not necessary, but to make one, or in an animal emergency, call Perkins at 626-7929.
Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.