In 1971, young veterinary doctor Dick Streett started the Churchville Veterinary Clinic in a small building on Churchville Road in his native Harford County. Now celebrating 50 years in the same location, Streett unveiled an updated clinic last week.
“When I started the practice we were 50% large animal, 50% small animal, the original clinic was only 2,000 square feet, and it was me and a part-time employee. We had a lot of 80 to 90 hour weeks doing both large and small animal practice,” Streett said as he spoke during the July 14 ribbon cutting event to officially unveil the newest renovation to the Churchville Veterinary Clinic.
Through the 1970s and ’80s, the original building was added on to four times to keep up with demand as the practice grew. After the most recent, fifth renovation in 2020, the Churchville location is now an expansive 7,100 square feet.
Family, friends and a host of local dignitaries were on hand to present proclamations and wish the Streett family well through their next chapter. Hanging on the wall of one of the side hallways inside the newly renovated office, a few old photos of the building through the years including a framed clipping from The Aegis dated Thursday, July, 8, 1971 announcing the opening of the Churchville Veterinary Clinic and the original caduceus, the symbol of veterinary medicine, that hung outside of the first building.
From its humble beginnings, the Churchville Veterinary Clinic now takes care of the community with 12 veterinarians and 50 employees spread out over three locations: the original clinic on Route 22 in Churchville, Greenbrier Veterinary Clinic in Bel Air and Swan Creek Veterinary Clinic in Havre de Grace.
A family operation, the Streett children, Kim, Rich and Chris Streett, now adults with families and careers of their own, all worked in the clinic when they were young, starting in the kennels and working their way up. Following in his father’s footsteps with veterinary medicine, Rich Streett is now one of the veterinarians practicing at the family operation.
“My story with this office started literally at day one of my life as my father opened the practice in 1971 and I was born three years later,” Rich Streett said as he addressed those gathered for the event. “As time went on, I progressed to becoming an assistant working along with the doctors and eventually decided to attend the Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. So truly outside of vet school and one year working at a different veterinary practice, I’ve been a lifer thus far here at Churchville.”
Jamie Caudell, a 35-year employee, tried to stay out of the spotlight during the event, but Dr. Streett couldn’t let the opportunity to thank her publicly slip by and expressed a heartfelt thank you to the cheers and clapping from the small crowd gathered for the event.
“They’ve been through a lot with me,” she said glancing over to her long-time boss with a smile. “When I lost my mom, my dad … they’ve always been there for me. They treat me more like family, it’s a great atmosphere working here.”
The Streett family has also helped Caudell with various animal projects through the years, including a feral cat rescue program she started.
After 50 years, Streett is no longer the main face at the veterinary practice.
“I’m more behind the scenes now as I stopped practicing a little over a year ago, still here helping with things though and now I have seven grandchildren, they were all here today and I really wanted them to see this and someday, hopefully, maybe one day one of them will be the next generation to be here taking this on,” Streett said.
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“In this line of work, our days can be hard and emotionally draining. We wouldn’t be here today without the hard work of my father, Dick Streett, fellow doctors and team members and many others,” Rich Streett said. “That hard work will continue to guide us into our future as we look forward to celebrating many more years ahead taking the best care of the pets of our great community.