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Carroll County Veterinary Clinic strives to ‘look for the fun’ with puns, sayings on roadside sign

Lynn Wimmer, DVM, outside the Carroll County Veterinary Clinic Wednesday, May 13, 2020, whose sign has entertained motorists driving on Md. 140 for years, has moved, along with its weekly groaner, to a new location along Baltimore Boulevard in Westminster.
Lynn Wimmer, DVM, outside the Carroll County Veterinary Clinic Wednesday, May 13, 2020, whose sign has entertained motorists driving on Md. 140 for years, has moved, along with its weekly groaner, to a new location along Baltimore Boulevard in Westminster. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

Carroll County Veterinary Clinic relocated about a mile farther east on Md. 140 in January to a bigger building with more parking, so the roadside message sign that has become a familiar landmark to motorists traveling that route has a new site.

The scenery may have changed with the move to 723 Baltimore Blvd., but the clinic’s funny puns and sayings posted out front remain a staple in Westminster.

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Lynn Wimmer purchased the clinic in 2005 ― its previous address was 334 Gorsuch Road, across Md. 140 from McDonald’s ― after working there as an associate veterinarian for several years. Wimmer, who later became the lead vet at the clinic, said the sign at that location usually posted upcoming community events or informational messages.

The Carroll County Veterinary Clinic in Westminster is known for its roadside sign messages, that travelers along Md. 140 have enjoyed for years and now are seeing in a new location.
The Carroll County Veterinary Clinic in Westminster is known for its roadside sign messages, that travelers along Md. 140 have enjoyed for years and now are seeing in a new location. (Carroll County Vet Clinic)

Wimmer said the clinic decided to post something humorous one day, and it was met with positive feedback. The weekly jokes were born, and her business attracted a steady audience of anyone traveling through Westminster on Md. 140.

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“I just figured in today’s day and age, you know, it’s better to laugh about things,” Wimmer said. “So now we just kind of look for the fun.”

People going east on 140 got to see “I used to spin toilet paper like I was on Wheel of Fortune; Now I turn it like I am cracking a safe” this past week.

Those coming into Westminster the opposite way with keen eyesight, from the other side of the median strip, were recently greeted with “When it doubt, nap it out.”

“We want to give something that cheers people up,” Wimmer said about the greeting at her new digs.

Carroll County Veterinary Clinic’s website lists 14 staff members ― two vets, Wimmer and associate Jennifer Mosier, eight technicians, and one communications officer, as well as Henry, the hospital cat who Wimmer discovered wandering through her barn at home, and his feline friends Albus and Remus, who roam the facility.

It’s a lively atmosphere even with the coronavirus pandemic affecting how vet work gets done.

The Carroll County Veterinary Clinic in Westminster is known for its roadside sign messages, that travelers along Md. 140 have enjoyed for years and now are seeing in a new location.
The Carroll County Veterinary Clinic in Westminster is known for its roadside sign messages, that travelers along Md. 140 have enjoyed for years and now are seeing in a new location. (Carroll County Vet Clinic)

Wimmer said clients aren’t allowed inside right now ― “Introverts, unite! Please avoid handshaking and hugging. We enjoy air high-fives!” is posted on the clinic’s website under COVID protocol ― but they are holding curbside appointments as a full-service operation.

Vet technician Beki Carlyle has taken over the role of sign updater, and she tries to do so every Sunday with help from daughter Reilley.

Carlyle said she remembers her first attempt at sign humor several years ago with “It’s all fun and games until someone ends up in a cone,” and things ramped up from there.

“Now we have people that aren’t even clients that send us cards,” she said. “It’s amazing, and it’s so awesome that people can laugh and smile ― especially right now. People are saying that they drive out of their way just to see the signs.”

Carlyle said she has seen the vet clinic’s signs recognized on various social media outlets, and the popularity has spread into other states and countries. Bored Panda, a Lithuania-based site that aims for “lightweight and inoffensive topics,” last month put together a list of top 30 signs posted by the Carroll County Vet Clinic, complete with photos of each message.

“If one door closes and another opens, your house may be haunted” was one of the funny posts shared by Bored Panda, which also liked “Dogs can’t operate MRI scanners but catscan,” and “Never make snow angels in a dog park.”

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Wimmer said a “Flat Earth” reference on their sign was once met with a phone call from an avid follower of that theory, so she makes sure whatever messages are displayed get vetted before going live.

The Carroll County Veterinary Clinic in Westminster is known for its roadside sign messages, that travelers along Md. 140 have enjoyed for years and now are seeing in a new location.
The Carroll County Veterinary Clinic in Westminster is known for its roadside sign messages, that travelers along Md. 140 have enjoyed for years and now are seeing in a new location. (Carroll County Vet Clinic)

“It shows that we have a personality, and it shows that we’re not wrapped real tight,” Carlyle said. “We try not to offend anybody ... we try to take everybody’s feelings into consideration.”

Carlyle said she keeps a list of puns and jokes on her phone, and sometimes people send in suggestions for their sign. Carroll County Vet Clinic did a contest through their Facebook page that Carlyle said received a lot of interest.

Wimmer said the clinic plans on remaining curbside while businesses are reopening and figuring out what normal is again. Patients have been understanding throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Wimmer said.

The comedic sign stylings won’t be going away, though.

“It’s crazy how quickly it blew up, and how much everybody loves it,” Carlyle said. “It just makes me so happy. The fact that people love it so much is just awesome.”

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