The best of both worlds; Wildwood employee enters fourth decade at practice
By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD – Wildwood Animal Clinic, now Wildwood Animal Hospital & Clinic, was established in 1977 by Dr. John Kolpanen. Kolpanen, a local native, returned to the area after spending several years in Chicago to open a small animal medical practice.
A couple of years later, Kolpanen hired Terri (Olson) Lenz.
“It was a long time ago,” recalls Lenz. “We were behind Figi’s on Maple Avenue. It was actually with Dr. Kolpanen; just a one-doctor little two-exam room practice. He hired me and taught me what to do. It was really nice that somebody took the chance of teaching. At that time, you did everything – you did the helping with the patients, checking them in, checking them out, doing lab work, doing surgery, doing x-rays – it was just a little bit of everything.”
When Kolpanen was injured in an automobile accident, the practice was sold to Dr. Roger Krogstad, and Lenz was retained as the sole employee at the time.
“Then the practice really started growing after Dr. Krogstad bought it in 1981,” Lenz recalled. “He expanded the practice so much, then we needed more help. It wasn’t a one-man show anymore.”
Terri said that she has seen the business’ reminder system grow from a “recipe box” to computers over the past four decades and that equipment development has greatly improved what the business can do for the animals in both emergency and preventative care.
Lenz, however, says that her role has changed over the years, with her now serving in more of a management role.
“I manage the staff,” she explained. “I do the day-to-day taking care of business. I do all of the billing, the paying bills. I help with the clients. I help where help is needed. It used to be that years ago, I was working with pets all of the time; now, I am more management.
“But, I still get to dabble in working with the pets. It is like, the best of both worlds.”
Lenz added that after 40 years, she still enjoys what she does and has no immediate plans to make any changes.
“I love the clients, I love getting to know the clients, getting to know their pets,” Lenz said. “They are their children – 99.9 percent of the people that come here, their pets are their family. It is great to get to know them and see their pets grow up.
“I’ve been here this long. I love it, so I hope I stay here until I decide that I am retiring and not wanting to work anymore.”