Veterinarian launching chain of Atlanta area veterinary hospitals

Charles McMillan recalls that during his childhood, first in Missouri then in Washington, D.C., he loved animals. “We always had family pets and playing with them, caring for them was my favorite thing to do.” As a young teen, McMillan recalled, his first job was in a veterinarian’s office, cleaning cages, walking dogs, and doing other simple chores. “After my first experience in professional animal care, I knew that I didn’t want to do anything else.”

McMillan fulfilled his childhood dream of becoming a practicing veterinarian after receiving a bachelor of science degree from Delaware State University, then a doctorate from the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2012. Even then, he said, he hadn’t thought of owning his own veterinary hospital. When he discovered GoodVets, he began thinking of how it would allow him to effect the changes he would like to see in veterinary medicine.

“I wanted a place that would be pleasant for both the pet and the pet parent. We have a welcoming environment with everything from lighting to music to make those who come to us feel relaxed and comfortable,” McMillan said.

Earlier this year, McMillan opened his first GoodVets in West Buckhead, making him owner of the first Atlanta-based GoodVets location and the first Black-owned GoodVets animal hospital anywhere. He is now building a GoodVets on North Druids Hills Road in Toco Hills—scheduled to open in the fall—and by early 2023, he expects to own four hospitals, including locations in Dunwoody and West Midtown Atlanta.

After opening the first GoodVets in Atlanta, McMillan released a statement that said in part, “I am most excited to make my mark in Atlanta by providing the best care for companion animals, assembling a team of exceptional and diverse talents, and using this platform to increase diversity in the profession from a position of influence. …Having my own hospital as a Black veterinarian means I can now create opportunities for ethnically diverse individuals in the profession and create a culture of excellence and inclusivity for my staff.…It is not lost on me that this accomplishment comes with great responsibility.”

The Toco Hills location, like others where he is establishing veterinary hospitals, was chosen because there aren’t enough such facilities there to meet the demand, according to McMillan. “Generally, there aren’t enough veterinarians; I would like to see more young people going into the field. I would especially like to see more young people of color choosing this line of work. I hope I can be a role model and an inspiration,” he said. “I would like to see not only more Black veterinarians, but more support staff that includes people of color.”

McMillan said one of his goals is to develop the public’s understanding of veterinary medicine so that those bringing pets for care “become more engaged and knowledgeably participate in their pet’s care. When pet parents are more knowledgeable, they make more informed decisions, which leads to a better outcome, a happier staff and happier pet parents. We want the pet parents to be our partners in the animal’s care,” he added.

“My favorite moments,” McMillan continued, “are when I see that the pet parent ‘gets it’—understands how to build the bond between him and his best friend.”

The GoodVets locations owned and operated by McMillan will cater primarily to dogs and cats, but the patient base may vary at the hospitals. “If I hire a veterinarian who has expertise with a particular animal, we may choose to treat those animals at his or her location,” he explained.

McMillan said his philosophy is “to make veterinary care as easy as possible for both the pet parent and the patient. It’s a one-stop shop, offering a complete range of services, including wellness care, urgent care, surgery, and oral care, along with the latest technology.”


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