Every once in a while, you stumble upon someone in your life who turns out to be truly amazing. This is the case with Dr. Alexis Sage. I met Dr. Sage a year and a half ago when we “won” our dog, Henry, at our school fundraiser. Dr. Sage had donated her mobile veterinarian services to support our school and I’ve been lucky enough to have her take care of our Henry from that day forward.
When Dr. Sage first walked through my front door, I knew we’d be fast friends. She is magical with her animals, talks a hundred miles an hour and you find yourself wanting her to pull up a chair and stay for a while. Her stories are fascinating, her knowledge of animals is endless and my first question for her was – do you take cats? When she told me yes, I was forever hooked.
Smarties, let’s get cozy with Dr. Alexis Sage, queen of Charlotte’s best mobile vet service!
Alexis’ Smarty Mom Stats:
Mom of: Ben (20), a sophomore at Auburn University, majoring in industrial engineering and Olivia (15), a sophomore at Charlotte Catholic.
Married to: Reid Hanson for 2 years.
Years in Charlotte: I moved to Charlotte in 2001 from Dover, Delaware where I had lived for 12 years. Prior to that I lived in Gainesville, Florida for 9 years.
Hometown: Beaver Falls, PA, which is 40 miles northwest of Pittsburgh.
Alma Mater: I received a B.S. in Biology from Pennsylvania State University and DVM from the University of Florida. I have been a practicing veterinarian since 1988.
When did you decide that you wanted to be a veterinarian and how did you land on the mobile piece?
I wanted to be a veterinarian for as long as I can remember. I really never had a second choice for a career so I can’t imagine what I would be doing if I had not been accepted to veterinary school. I remember having funerals for every bug I found in my yard, complete with decorated coffin made from my mother’s cardboard jewelry boxes, procession of neighborhood kids and prayers at the grave site! I thought that I would take care of small animals but fell in love with horses after college and spent a few years before vet school working with them so my plan changed to become a mixed animal veterinarian. My first job after vet school was with a mixed practice where I spent most of my time as a mobile equine practitioner and a few hours a week in the small animal clinic. I was a regulatory veterinarian at a thoroughbred racetrack for 3 years after my son was born which allowed me to work only 2 very long days a week so that I could be with Ben as much as possible. I then started my own mobile practice in Dover and took my son to work with me every day. It was during that time that I discovered he was allergic to animals! The mobile practice gave me the flexibility to set my own hours and be available to do what I needed for my children. This aspect was even more important to me after Olivia was born and my responsibilities increased exponentially. I feel so fortunate that I have been able to take my children to school every day and attend all of their games and events.
What services do you handle and when do you recommend calling a primary veterinarian office?
My practice is Mobile Equine and Housecall Service and I provide routine veterinary services to horses, dogs, and cats. This includes physical exams, vaccinations, heartworm checks, fecal exams, and the sale of heartworm and flea/tick medications.
I also perform euthanasia at home, which provides a very comforting, peaceful and less stressful alternative when it is time to say good-bye to our much loved pets. My office is my vehicle so I have very little overhead, allowing me to charge less for most things than other animal hospitals.
What is your favorite part about being a veterinarian?
My favorite thing about being a veterinarian is pretty much every aspect of it. I am so lucky that my passion and profession are one and the same. I truly love going to work every day and enjoy my interactions with both my patients and their owners. The hardest part is telling a client that there is nothing more that can be done to help their pet.
We want to tap into your little black book – who’s your favorite groomer, pet food, boarding facility, dog training tips, etc. in Charlotte?
We are the proud owners of 2 rescue poodle mixes. Pepsi is 14 and Bella is 5. I feed them Nutro Senior pet food, give them a bit of plain yogurt and offer little to no people food. If you met my dogs, you would not ask me about training tips! The best advice I can give is to socialize your pet as much as possible, buy a good book on training at home, and go to puppy class after they are fully vaccinated.
What do you think about pet insurance?
Pet insurance is great for accidents, illness and injuries and you can pay extra to cover routine health care. If you are considering it, read the policy carefully and ask a lot of questions.
Having your pet micro-chipped is a great idea and is the best insurance that you and your pet will be reunited if lost.
Switching roles here…You’re a Smarty Mom of high school/college age children. What tips do you have for Smarty Moms preparing their kids for college?
As for kid tips…Ugh!
I was pleasantly surprised at how well my son was prepared for college and I can attribute that to the guidance counselors at Charlotte Catholic. I was so impressed with the information given and the individual attention my son received and my job was mainly helping him narrow his choices and letting him use my debit card for applications! For most kids today, college is not an option but the next step and they know so much more about what to expect than most of us did at that time.
I was told by more than one smart mom that mother nature has a way of getting US ready to let our children leave the nest and that is that most high school seniors become so independent and test the waters so much that we are counting the days until they leave for college. Sort of…….And then you leave them at the dorm and cry the whole way home.
What about navigating financial aid for college kids?
Fill out the FAFSA forms as soon as you file your taxes during their senior year in order to receive any possible financial aid. Also, I hear that there are many scholarships out there but that you have to find them yourself. It’s not as daunting as some would have you believe, but I would recommend starting sooner than later.
Social media and high school kids – what has your experience been like?
Social media…well. I have a rule in my car-no phones allowed! You better talk to me if I went out of my way to pick you and your friends up. We have not had any bad experiences (that I know about) in our house related to social media but I have had the obligatory talks with my kids and at some point I just have to believe that they will make smart choices.
Favorite restaurant to take the whole fam?
We love to try new restaurants but have our favorites such as Portofinos, City Tavern, Brio and The Melting Pot.
What is the last meal you cooked?
I must admit that since there are just 2 of us at home that I don’t cook as much as I used to but recently made marinated pork chops that everyone loved.
3 TBSP red wine vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 TBSP chopped fresh thyme
Half a palm full fresh parsley
Combine ingredients in shallow dish, season meat with salt and pepper, coat with marinade and lett sit for at least 10 minutes.
Cook in non-stick skillet on medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes on each side.
You can use this with 4 center cut pork chops, 4 strip steaks, or 4 chicken breasts.
Funniest thing your children have ever said to you?
One of the funniest things that my son ever said to me was when he was 3 1/2 years old, watching me ultrasound myself when I was pregnant with Olivia. He had seen me ultrasound numerous horses for pregnancy and heard me tell the clients that their mare was indeed pregnant. When he saw the little black circle on the screen, he said, “Look Mommy, it’s a little horse!”
Best book you’ve ready lately?
To be honest, I have not finished a book in quite a while, but since I am hosting a new book club next week, I will be reading “Heaven Is For Real”.
Behavioral trait you hope your kids don’t inherit from you.
I hope that my children do not inherit my tendency to procrastinate but I have made it work for me!
Guilty pleasures include Dove chocolate bars, power naps and wine-or maybe those are necessities!
You can read up on Dr. Sage’s Mobile Equine and Housecall Vet Service here.