Tuesday, 16 May 2000
"At the end of the day, when you walk through the door, animals
are always happy to see you."
Lee FikeBy Lee Allen
SPECIAL TO THE ARIZONA
Veterinary medicine is about people as well as animals, says Lee Fike,
a doctor of veterinary medicine who refers to himself as a "doggie
"There's somebody on either end of the leash," he said. "When a pet
owner walks a leash into my office, there's an animal on either end — one
with two legs, the other with four. Both fascinate me equally, so I
practice medicine on the pet and people skills with the owner."
This philosophy has earned Fike the reputation as a people-person
veterinarian. He accepts the label with a smile.
"That's been the key to my success," he said. "This job has taught me
that I'm here to take care of people as well as their animals. You need to
take time to get to know your human clients as well as your animal
Fike, who earned his stethoscope and white coat in 1988, said he thinks
pets are a calming influence on their owners. He calls them "four-footed
"For most of us living an urban life, animals are a connection with
nature," he said. "They're perfect little beings. God made these guys to
be with us. Pet owners who talk to their animals have reduced blood
pressure, live longer and have happier lives."
Fike said he has a skewed view of the universe because the people he
meets are the good ones, responsible pet owners who love their animals
enough to care for them. He said he believes it's a two-way street.
"People can learn from their pets. I've learned to trust people more by
watching how animals trust their owners and show that trust in
As for Jennifer Wesley and her cat, Crystal, their trust is in their
"Dr. Fike is the warmest and most caring veterinarian I've ever known,"
she said. "The animals even pick up on his calm nature and realize it when
he tells them, 'It's OK.' He also recognizes the uniqueness in each pet
personality and seems to know just how to approach them. Dr. Fike is also
great at calming anxious pet owners. From the moment he comes into the
examining room, you know your pet is in the best possible hands."
Wesley brought Crystal to Fike when the cat was so sick she nearly
died. He frequently called with updates on her condition and spirits.
"She pulled through because he cared so much," Wesley said.
Fike said animals offer the best examples of loyalty and attitude.
"At the end of the day, when you walk through the door, animals are
always happy to see you," he said. "They never greet you with a complaint.
They don't do things maliciously. They're loyal to a fault till the day
they die. Animals have to be part of the plan to bring peace and harmony
to the universe."