Kristin Karbonik had moved on from her youthful whim of becoming a veterinarian by the time she went to college.
But after graduating with a combination mathematics and business degree and getting a desk job she didn’t enjoy, that fuzzy dream came back into focus.
She left her warm seat at Verizon for cold noses at a local vet clinic. She’d talked her way into an entry-level technician position to get a sense of what this career switch would entail. She took classes two at a time to prepare for veterinary school.
After a decade of learning to be a doctor for animals and working for other veterinarians, she again decided to leave a comfortable job and open her own practice.
She relied on her education in business, her mind for math and her husband’s financial background, and opened an office in 2014 in Canton not far from her home.
The move counters a trend of larger practices and corporate ownership of vet hospitals, which Karbonik acknowledged has provided many vets with stability and has removed administrative responsibilities and burdens for those who prefer to tend only to animals.
So far, so good, she said. Karbonik, along with a veterinary partner and friend, Jessica Eavers, tends to animals, but also to their owners, four technicians and two receptionists.
She said she and Eavers like the freedom to decide how to care for pets without a structure. Also, clients — human, as well as canine and feline — will see someone they know every time they come in.
The vet pair now tend to about 4,700 cats and dogs, and about 3,400 of their people.
“It’s mostly a younger clientele getting pets for the first time,” Karbonik said, “so they are very invested in caring for them.”
Of course, she said, “I like all of them.”
That includes the ones who bare their teeth more than wag their tails. She understands it can be hard to be cuddly at the sight of a thermometer, needle or toenail trimmer.
A little reassurance — and some treats — usually gets everyone through the experience, she said.
Dr. Kristin Karbonik
Founder of Charm City Veterinary Hospital
Education: B.S. in mathematics and business from Wake Forest University, and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Virginia Tech
Family: Married to Mike Hannon for 5.5 years. The pair is currently petless after recently losing their 17-year-old pug named Buddha.