NILES -- Dr. Denise Igoe grew up in Cleveland, but some of her fondest childhood memories go back to her days spent in more open country.
Her mother owned a ranch in southern Alberta, Canada, near the Montana border, and she spent several summers riding horses there.
It was during her three-month treks to Canada that Igoe decided she wanted to be a veterinarian, and it wasn't long before she and her mother found themselves participating in horse shows all over the United States.
Eventually, Igoe's travels took her to Ohio State University, where she received her bachelor's degree in pre-veterinarian studies and graduated in 1985 from OSU's veterinary school.
First, she took care of horses and companion animals for three years and then worked at a large veterinary clinic in Cleveland for four years.
Next, she started her own business that called on her to travel all over Northeast Ohio. She worked with 25 clinics, operating the business when the owner went on vacation or left for another reason.
Dr. Igoe's travels slowed down in 2000 when she bought 50 percent of Niles Veterinary Clinic. She joined Dr. Joe Schmidt, who also owned half of the business.
Last November, they moved the clinic to busy Youngstown-Warren Road from its former Vienna Avenue location, where it had been since opening in 1982.
The new facility is more than twice as big as the original location and features seven full-service examination rooms and an open treatment area set up to provide medical exams, dental care, treatment for skin problems and many other routine procedures.
The large room also allows the 13 employees and three full-time veterinarians to be on top of what's going on throughout the facility.
Among the specialized services the clinic provides are acupuncture, which helps with pain management, and veterinary spinal manipulation, used to help both cats and dogs suffering from arthritis, seizures, back and spinal problems.
The facility's services extend beyond animals' physical difficulties, however. Dr. Schmidt said he works with people whose animals are aggressive or exhibit other behavioral problems. One employee conducts a class to teach people how to train their puppies.
"Sometimes it's a matter of working with the owner, who can reinforce such behaviors. People sometimes think pets reason like we do, and they tend to humanize them more than they are, and misinterpret a dog's behavior," he said.