Giving Back to People and Pets

Eagle Animal Hospital and Pet Resort, one of the first animal hospitals north of the Missouri River, celebrates 72 years of care this year.

With its origin in the old James Farm dairy barn, built around 1889, the hospital opened its doors in 1946 with a single vet on staff, Tom Eagle.

Fast forward to 2018 and Eagle is now the largest privately-owned practice north of the river, with seven veterinarians among its total staff of 37, with $350,000 worth of leading-edge equipment. Not bad for a place that had less than $3500 in equipment as recently as 10 years ago.

Jim Sparks, DVM, purchased Eagle in 1995. In 2013, Sparks, who began his career in the same building as a kennel attendant at the age of 15, brought on a partner with a nearly identical background, Matt Silvius, DVM. A year later, the duo knocked down most of the original structure and built a 10,000 square foot, state of the art facility with luxury lodging and doggie day care. The cats even got their own waiting room.

 “The reason for the expansion was simply to enable us to provide the best treatment possible for our pets and their owners” Silvius and Sparks explain.

Even when not at work, the pair are busy giving back to the community. The doctors and their staff are involved in numerous philanthropic endeavors, including continuous support of local public and private schools, the YMCA Challenger Program, and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

This year Eagle will eclipse a quarter of a million dollars spent on dogs for donation to auction events, such as those held by JDRF and St. Therese.

“We don’t just donate the hand-picked dogs,” explains Sparks. “We supply everything the new owner will need for the first year of the pet’s life. We want people to be happy with their pets.”

Eagle also sponsors a matching fund program for Feed Northland Kids. They match dollar for dollar all monies donated by its clients and staff.

As an independent veterinary practice, Silvius and Sparks are equally committed to their professional community.

“Thirty-seven percent of all vets are owned by big business,” Silvius comments. “Dr. Sparks and I started IVN, the Independent Veterinary Network, to help private practices succeed.

By participating in IVN, veterinarians can compete with the increasing number of corporate practices while maintaining their individuality and personal approach to professional pet care. We’re working on video health care appointments, a national pet record archive, and a vet van,” says Sparks. “We’ve even developed plug and play software for IVN members.”

“We do well by doing good,” smiles Sparks. “We love what we do.”

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