Dignified Pet Services presents 'People in the Neighborhood'
Our world is home to countless forces of nature that, once they’ve touched down, leave the landscape forever changed. Some are large and dramatic — like shifting tectonic plates — while others are quietly industrious, like bees transporting pollen. Those of the human variety can fall into either camp. Jason Nicholas, fondly known as “Dr. J” of Preventive Vet, falls into the latter, working at a quiet, steady pace, changing the world a little wherever he touches down.
Growing up outside of Philadelphia, Jason spent time in New York, Florida and North Carolina. School took him to London for 5 years, where he graduated with honors from the Royal Veterinary College, then returned to NYC to intern at the world-renowned Animal Medical Center. In 2008 he married Andrea, and the pair moved to Portland, where Jason began his residency in emergency critical care at DoveLewis.
The pair “immediately fell in love” with the city, and the Pacific Northwest. “Despite our first trip being in January, and my wife coming from So Cal, we immediately dug the town, the vibe, and especially, the people,” says Jason.
Here things turned. Still early in his residency, Jason found his professional calling . . . which called for a redirect.
“Veterinary emergency work involves a lot of pain and distress for pets, and trauma and difficulty for people. People are often facing tough decisions in upsetting situations. It didn’t sit well with me that much of what we in the profession were doing was ‘reactive’ rather than ‘proactive.’ We are so adept at treating diseases and emergencies, but not so much at educating and helping people avoid and be prepared for them. I wanted to give pet owners and veterinary teams reliable and approachable information and resources for pet safety and illness prevention.”
Relinquishing his residency, Jason worked on an “exhaustive tome” on pet safety and prevention, while doing relief work at local clinics. Along the way an idea took root — The Preventive Vet.
“My goal was getting preventive awareness into not only pet owners’ minds, but all the stakeholders in the family pet’s safety: the vet, the techs, the dog walker, the pet sitter. I wanted to change the conversation and the dynamics.”
The idea matured, and in 2011 Jason launched The Preventive Vet — at the time presenting himself as The Preventive Vet — complete with a website and frequent appearances on TV and media. In 2013 he published “101 Essential Tips You Need to Raise a Happy, Healthy, Safe Dog,” made possible by a successful crowdfunding campaign.
Jason really hit stride last summer, after partnering with a woman he’d worked with in the veterinary community who had the marketing and business chops to help him forward his mission. Giving the company and website a makeover, today the business looks and feels like, well . . . a force to be reckoned with.
Along the way Jason made many friends and fans. Not surprising, given his impassioned commitment to providing families and veterinary professionals information and tools to not only better their animals’ lives, but their own. He’s also just a really likable guy who truly loves people. When he began The Preventive Vet, he essentially “stumped” for a time — meeting and dining with anyone and everyone in the local pet arena to learn about them, and introduce himself and his mission. And while this was certainly time-consuming and “work” for Jason, those who connected with the doctor in those early days quickly recognized that, despite being a recent transplant, this guy was “one of us.”
Having kids — Lotte will be 5 in November, Margo turned 3 in August — made him even more “one of.”
“Once Lotte started walking and carrying raisins or raisin bagels, I really started becoming more aware,” says Jason. “Like, ‘hey, raisins are toxic for Wendy [the family Aussie/Brittany mix].’ I began to appreciate much more the busy-ness of a working parent — and the challenges of being pressed for time and money — which really cemented for me the importance of providing accessible, easily digestible information and experiences about prevention that could be used easily and immediately at home . . . so people don’t have to learn the hard way about the tragedies of Tylenol . . . or raisins.”
While Dr. J has come a long way in his relatively short time in Portland, his roots are already deep, his business growing rapidly.
What does this likable pet doc have on his bucket list? As far as his business goes, “making it a household name. Making the idea that awareness and simple steps can help keep pets healthy and safe, living happily to a ripe old age.”
On the personal side, he’d love to travel more of the world, and someday, “maybe after the girls have graduated, travel more of the US with Andrea in an RV — I love new places, people, experiences,” he says.
Happily, wherever he may go, the man who “immediately fell in love” with Portland just as quickly became “one of us,” making a great town even better. “Helping to build a world where all pets are happy, healthy, safe and protected,” this quiet force of nature just might do so on a scale as yet unimagined.
About our Sponsor
Dignified Pet Services has served the Portland-area community for 13 years. In addition to their core business of cremation and memorial services, Dignified co-sponsors the beloved annual Service of Remembrance at The Old Church in downtown Portland, as well as serving as wonderful supporters and friends of pets and those working in animal welfare. Proprietors Michael, Randy and Avani live in Sherwood.
Kristan Dael is a freelance writer and the alter ego of Jennifer Mccammon. She lives in Portland with her 3-pack, and strives to produce articles that inform, edify, engage and entertain.