Pisarik ready to exit after four decades as vet
From birthing heifers to pet raccons and skunks, he's seen it all
Longtime veterinarian Frank Pisarik holds Arrow, a male Australian Shepherd mix that had surgery earlier Thursday. Pisarik, a partner in Kenosha Animal Hospital, is retiring from his 40-plus-year career on Saturday. ( BRIAN PASSINO )
From December 29, 2011 Kenosha News
Written by Joe Potente
Growing up as a farm boy, Frank Pisarik had dreams of becoming a veterinarian, caring for the large animals that filled the barns and pastures of his native Iowa.
He learned, however, his enthusiasm for that sort of work had waned about two years into his first job out of veterinary school, when he found himself performing a cesarean section on an open heifer, in a barn, on a 30-below-zero night.
As fate would have it, that was the day before Pisarik was headed to Kenosha, to interview for a job treating companion animals at Kenosha Animal Hospital.
Forty years later, Pisarik, 66, is retiring from that job, as a partner in a business that has expanded significantly since he arrived in 1971.
"I've had a great run, as far as the practice is concerned," said Pisarik, whose last shift at the hospital, 6223 39th Ave., will be a half shift on Saturday morning.
Enjoyed evolution of trade
During his 42 years in the business, Pisarik said he's watched animal care evolve to include treatments, such as digital X-rays and ultrasounds, that were developed for humans and either did not yet exist or were not commonplace when he was studying veterinary medicine at Iowa State University in the 1960s.
Pisarik said that constant evolution, and the challenges that come with it, were things that kept him interested in his profession for so many years.
"There are challenges every day," Pisarik said. "There are humdrum things that you do â€” the things that aren't so exciting. But there are always challenges that keep you on your toes."
All the while, Pisarik said he has enjoyed serving his clientele, working with an office staff that he describes as a "big family" and, of course, treating the animals of many species that come through the hospital's doors.
Many different species
While his practice has been largely dog- and cat-oriented, Pisarik has dealt with his share of unusual pets. When he began practicing, he noted, raccoons were still legal house pets and de-scenting skunks for domestication was an assignment he saw occasionally.
Once, Pisarik recalled, the state Department of Natural Resources arrived at the clinic with an ailing deer.
"It was kind of dazed when they brought it in, but when it came to, it was crazy," Pisarik laughed. "It was kind of hard to get it out of here."
Not surprisingly, one of the hardest parts of the job, Pisarik said, is telling customers their pet isn't going to make it.
"I've always tried to be honest about it," Pisarik said. "I know there are many cases where the owner will do anything â€” they'll spend any amount of money, but you know the outcome isn't going to be good."
Active in industry
During his career in Kenosha, Pisarik worked to form a local veterinarians' association and, along with fellow veterinarians, established The Animal ER of Kenosha and Racine, a 24-hour emergency pet care clinic on Green Bay Road, just north of Highway KR.
He became a partner owner of Kenosha Animal Hospital in the early 1980s.
Now, Pisarik will leave the business to his current fellow partners, William Carlisle and Robert Reynolds.
In his retirement, Pisarik said he plans to spend more time with his wife, Teri, and his children and grandchildren. Traveling, golfing and fishing is also on the agenda.
"I'm glad that we came here," Pisarik said. "And I'm glad that this worked out."