Curious as to what different generations of veterinarians would have to say, retired veterinarian Albert M. Krochmal, DVM, and his cousin, Ronald Mehler, DVM, owner of the Novi Veterinary Clinic, agreed to share their memories and give advice to those who wish to follow in their footsteps.
Veterinary medicine runs through three generations of the family, as Dr. Mehler’s nephew, Stephen Mehler, DVM, practices in Rochester, New York, and first cousin, Howard Brooks-Korn, DVM practices in Millbrae, California.
Dr. Albert M. Krochmal of West Bloomfield, Michigan was born in 1919 in Detroit:
Q: What or who inspired you to become a veterinarian?
A: It was 1937, and I was a senior at Northern High School in Detroit. I was visiting my Uncle Lou Corman’s candy shop on Lee Place and 12th Street, and I had a conversation with one of my Uncle Abe Corman’s friends,“Blackie” Shulman, a college student who was studying dentistry. Blackie told me that if he had to do it again, he’d have become a veterinarian.
Q: How much did college cost at that time?
A: I studied for one year at Wayne State and what was then called Michigan State College. Tuition for Michigan State College was $30 per quarter. It was a flat rate, plus $100 per month for room and board, which included 20 meals a week. I graduated in 1942.
Q: How did you begin your career?
A: I worked nights at Dr. Owen’s veterinary hospital on Gratiot near Seven Mile Road. I went into practice in about 1945 with Dr. Martin Cherin on Livernois, and in 1952, I built my own hospital on Eight Mile Road, four blocks west of Southfield near Northland. It was called Northland Veterinary Hospital. I sold my practice in 1973 and worked as an independent contractor in Michigan, Florida, and California until 2005.
Q: Did you specialize in the care of certain animals in your practice?
A: I specialized in small animals such as cats and dogs and sometimes birds, hamsters, mice, and rats. My practice was about 40 % cats.
Q: What changes have you seen to your profession over the years?
A: The Internet and computers.
Q: Do you have any memories of any cats you knew in your career that you’d like to share?
A: I used to get cats from the Humane Society for use as blood donors. Also, I had a clinic cat I named Freeloader. She was a cat who was left behind at my hospital by one of my clients who wanted her euthanized because they were moving to Arizona. I couldn’t do that, so I kept her. She was very gentle. She liked to clean off puppies after I’d done c-sections, and she loved to play with the blood donor dogs.
Q: Do you have any advice for those who wish to study veterinary medicine?
A: They better have good relatives to help them get established. I had two uncles who loaned me money, and my father gave me business loans so I could build my hospital. It was difficult getting a mortgage at that time because it was a one-purpose building.
Part two will be about Dr. Ronald Mehler, DVM.