By Shelby Stewart-Soldan
Davison— After 57 years, Dr. Rodney Pierson is taking a step back from the veterinary business.
“I’ve been blessed to have a long career, but I didn’t want to die with my boots on,” said Pierson.
Pierson, owner of Pierson Pet Hospital, 9050 Davison Road, Davison, began working at a different vet clinic on Davison Road out of college. Ten years ago, he brought on Dr. Angela Lusty, and this year he added Dr. Amy Webb-Kallin. All three doctors are from Goodrich.
“I was a farm boy from Goodrich, so the first 35 years we did large animals. Once we got this place, we decided to stop doing the large animals,” said Pierson, 81. “When I was a senior in high school at Goodrich, we had 35 people in my class, so it was pretty small. We didn’t have advisors or anything back then, so the principal appointed an older teacher to meet with each one of the graduating seniors during the year and talk to them about futures. So I had a meeting with the teacher, and asked me what I wanted to do. I said I was going to go to Michigan State, but I’m not really sure what I’m going to study there. He said ‘my son just graduated from veterinary school, and he got a good education. You might want to think about that.’ Later that year I spent a weekend on campus with a farm-related fraternity, there were a lot of vet students there, so I never varied from that path after that.”
After graduating, Pierson went to work for the vet that his dad took their farm animals to.
“I’ve worked on this road right here for the last 57 years, three different locations,” he said. “I’m not going to move again. I’m just really blessed to have these two doctors here, they’re taking over and I’m just helping them out a little with part time support. They’re going to do a good job here, they already do.”
The current location has been open for 57 years, and Dr. Lusty joined the practice 10 years ago.
“I grew up on a small farm in Goodrich as well,” said Lusty. “We had a lot of chickens and other animals as well. I was always keen on helping, if there were ever any injuries I would tend to them and do whatever I could to fix them up. I just always loved animals but also loved science and figuring out how the body worked and what you could do to fix it, and I went to Michigan State and applied to vet school and was blessed enough to get in, somehow made it through and then I heard about Dr. Pierson here and how he was looking for an associate veterinarian.”
Dr. Webb-Kallin joined the practice in January, and is also a graduate from Goodrich and Michigan State University.
“I sadly did not have a farm to grow up on,” said Webb-Kallin. “I actually started training dogs is how I fell in love with animals. So I trained at Stonington Kennels in Goodrich, so when I was 9 years old I started training dogs and fell in love with training and working with them. I actually spent quite a lot of time at Briarwood Veterinary Hospital in Grand Blanc volunteering and then working there for 18 years.”
In addition to veterinary services, Pierson Pet Hospital also offers grooming and boarding services.
“Our clientele really like to take care of their pets. I’ve had families with four generations of their pets over the years,” said Pierson. “It’s kind of a one stop shop for our clients, they like having everything in one building. A big part of being a veterinarian is problem solving, and primarily we work through our clients to help their pets solve their health problems. It’s not the only part of our responsibility, but it’s something people might not realize.”
Lusty said her favorite part of being a veterinarian is enhancing and maintaining the bond between pet and owner.
“Whether its an elderly person with their companion that keeps them company every day or whether it’s a small child with their family pet, just being able to keep their pets healthy for as long as possible so that they can keep that bond with them is really important to me,” she said. “We really value our co-workers and our staff. We’re just excited to carry on the legacy that Dr. Pierson has built over 57 years. We’re hoping we can continue his excellence and build on it.”
Pierson plans to stay on part time for a little while to help with the transition, but he says he has confidence in Dr. Lusty and Dr. Webb-Kallin to continue the practice.
“I’ve always liked my job so much that I never really thought about how much work it was,” he said. “If you like your job, it’s not really working.”
By Shelby Stewart-Soldan