Thirty-Five Years of Caring for Our Pets   

Eden Prairie has experienced tremendous growth over the past 30 years. In the ’70s, the population grew from about 9,000 to 18,000 residents. Since then, the city has continued to grow, and with excellent planning, a premier community came to fruition. Thirty-five years ago, Dr. Bob Skinner studied the demographics of Eden Prairie and determined it would be a great place to raise a family and start a veterinary practice. He did both in 1984, moving into a house near Edenvale Elementary School and building the first office building off Terrey Pine Court, the home of Prairie Village Pet Hospital.

The pet hospital was formed with the concept of delivering the highest quality pet care while keeping in step with veterinary advances. Even in the early days, they had X-rays, heart monitors and in-house blood chemistry analyzers. And they continue that trend today to meet the expectations of their clients, who want good surgery and medicine combined with compassionate care. Dr. Skinner understands that the veterinarian not only treats the pet but also the pet owner. A caring veterinarian combined with a knowledgeable staff that has strong, compassionate communication with pet owners is the best route to positive outcomes.

In 1989, Dr. Jim Nelson came on the scene. He was a recent graduate from Kansas State University who had family in the Twin Cities and loved all it had to offer, especially when it came to cycling and skiing. During his interview, he was impressed with the new facility and the friendly staff.

Not long after Dr. Nelson was hired, Dr. Skinner hyperextended a couple of fingers in his right hand after he overcorrected himself and flew in the bushes in a very competitive game of limbo at one of the clinic social retreats. His physician said he had to rest the hand so it could heal, and as a result, Dr. Nelson was responsible for all surgeries for the next two months. (So much for mentoring!) 

“In the ’80s, we couldn’t rely on surgical specialists or the internet to help us with our cases,” Dr. Nelson says. “We took in our on emergencies and flew by the seat of pants at times and in most cases had acceptable outcomes. We developed habits and skillsets that allowed us to practice all aspects of companion animal medicine from wellness to emergency care.”

In 2005, Dr. Nelson purchased the practice from Dr. Skinner and increased the level of care for their dedicated clients. To this day, their mainstay is wellness visits: appointment-based visits for vaccinations, elective surgeries or dentistry procedures. What they have developed in the past 15 years are more options for people whose pets need to be seen quickly, also known as urgent care.

Urgent care simply means they can see walk-ins for pet-related problems the same day. Urgent care is not emergency care. True emergency cases need to be treated within minutes, while urgent cases need to been treated within hours.

Prairie Village does accept daytime emergencies, but their ultimate goal is not to allow an urgent situation to develop into an emergency. To honor this mission, they keep urgent slots open in our schedule, provide pet transport to the clinic and encourage drop-offs so they have an entire day to work up and treat sick animals. The clinic provides same-day ultrasound, digital radiography and bloodwork that can be interpreted by boarded specialists if requested.

When it comes to providing reputable service, the most important component of Prairie Village’s success is their loyal, friendly and seasoned staff. Mary, their head receptionist, has been with Prairie Village for more than 25 years. Three of their veterinary nurses—Jamila, Kelley and Molly—have been on board for 14 years, while two others—Alyssa and Beth—have been a part of Prairie Village for five years. Lindsay, a veterinary assistant in training, is the new face at the clinic.

“My colleague, Dr. Patia Hargreaves, came to Prairie Village in 2015,” Dr. Nelson says. “She is an outstanding surgeon and diagnostician. She is also comfortable with emergency medicine and is developing a niche in surgery, dentistry and dermatology. When I do take a vacation, I can always count on Dr. Hargreaves to hold down the fort!”

The human-animal bond has grown by leaps and bounds in the new millennium. No one can argue against the fact that pets are true family members, and Prairie Village Pet Hospital acknowledges that by providing white-glove care for your beloved pet.

“It’s been an honor to practice in this community and to get to know generations of families and their pets,” Dr. Nelson says. “We hope to recognize you all in the fall, as we celebrate 35 unbelievable years in Eden Prairie. Look for open-house festivities in the future.”

7815 Terry Pine Court, Eden Prairie