Award-winning veterinarian aims to ease pets’ fears


By Heather Lusk



Dr. Shari Lyons aims to decrease the anxiety that pets often experience when they visit her with the “next step” in veterinary medicine – a fear-free building to address pets’ emotional needs in addition to their physical care.

Lyons and her husband created the Zionsville Country Veterinary Clinic outside of Whitestown 20 years ago. She’s seen much change in veterinary medicine over the years with pets living longer lives and a movement to address the emotional care of a pet along with physical care.

The change is partly what prompted Lyons and her team to build a new office so that they could create a fear-free clinic.

“Nobody had ever done a fear-free practice from the ground up,” Lyons said. “It’s very different, almost a struggle, to bring in all of the (needs) and make every visit positive for the pet.”

“More animals are euthanized for behavior problems,” she said, which is something she aims to change. “You start with the very basics and you make every visit about what could be problems later on.”

Their current clinic has a separate entrance for cats while the new space will add a pet adoption area and outdoor exam room. She expects it to open by the end of the year.

Lyons was recently recognized for the scope and aptitude of her service, being named the Central Indiana Veterinary Medical Association Veterinarian of the Year, presented at the CIVMA annual meeting in November.

“It’s an honor that I never expected, but it’s very nice to see what my passion has driven, that it has made an impact,” Lyons said.

“I wanted to be a veterinarian as long as I could remember,” said Lyons, who encourages youth to follow their dreams and learn how to care for animals. She leads a Shadow the Vet program and interacts with 4H kids, teaching them how to view x-rays and ultrasounds and check a heartbeat.

She also offers reduced health care rates for feral cats and created the DADO fund for homeless animals in Boone County.

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