Creature Comforts: Veterinarian's Passion for Animals Drives Her Personally and ProfessionallyNov 28, 2022 08:14AM ● By Kara Schweiss
Photo by Bill Sitzmann
Dr. Amanda Jondle provides care for animals all day, every day at her busy veterinary practice, Florence Animal Hospital. Since purchasing the practice from its retiring owner in January 2022, it’s been a year of late work days and long weeks for Jondle and her staff; not only seeing patients but maintaining inventory, managing the books, and other operational duties. One might assume that Jondle would want to get away from it all during her precious free time. Instead, she takes care of more animals, from four cats and four dogs—nearly all rescues—to herds of goats and pigs, as well as a horse on the acreage north of the city she and husband Anthony recently acquired.
“Our animals are our babies, essentially. They’re part of the family,” she said, adding that several Jondle pets started as “foster failures” the couple couldn’t bear to let move on. “We probably get too attached…and then it’s hard to say goodbye.”
Jondle’s friend and veterinary school colleague Haley Roecker, DVM, characterized Jondle’s dedication during and beyond work hours as a passion for caring for animals.
“Amanda likes to stay busy and surround herself with a variety of animals,” she said. “Having a small farm with a horse, pigs, and goats is what is fulfilling for her.”
“I grew up on a farm,” Jondle said. “And that’s always kind of been where I wanted to end up, on a farm. So, we did everything we could to make it happen.”
Another thing Jondle wanted to make happen, and from a very early age, was to become a veterinarian. “When I knew what a vet was, that’s what I wanted to do,” she said. “There was really no ‘plan B.’”
On her family’s farm in eastern Iowa, Jondle helped attend to the family’s pets and livestock, which included llamas and horses. She also had a soft spot for wildlife—caring for orphaned baby raccoons, bottle-feeding baby bats, and even sheltering an injured chicken in the bathroom of the house during its recovery. By the end of elementary school, she was volunteering at a nearby veterinary clinic, walking dogs and cleaning food and water bowls. At 14, she obtained a work permit. “I pretty much grew up in that clinic.”
Later, Jondle graduated from Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. She also studied acupuncture for small animals and horses at the Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine in Florida. Jondle practiced small-animal medicine and surgery at several clinics in Tennessee, as well as locally, before launching her own practice.
Jondle emphasizes educating her customer pet owners, from the first new puppy or kitten visit through every regular exam or illness/injury consultation. An experienced writer, Jondle is also building online resources and a social media presence for the practice. The staff enjoys the company of a clinic kitty—a diabetic cat who was originally brought in to be euthanized; now she gets the care she needs and “loves on” everyone at the office.
As for the critters at home, Jondle said she appreciates having a spouse who also loves animals and works from home. This ensures that cats and dogs Bentley, Riley, Emmy, Darlene, Oliver, Ralphie, Addie and Katniss—plus the goats and baby pigs—get the care and attention they need.
It’s a busy life, but there always seems to be room for one more animal. Jondle is happy to be working with a horse again now that her 5-year-old palomino, Chevy, has been transferred from a boarding stable to her property. Now, she can ride more frequently—an act she said is a great stress reliever at the end of a busy day. “We’ve got some training to do still. I wanted a horse that wasn’t super old. We can train and kind of learn things together.”