FAIRBORN — Towne and Country Animal has seen a number of changes in its 70 years, including its approach in relieving symptoms felt by the animals who walk through the door.
Since its beginnings, Dr. David Kocher has found, studied and utilized a “healing touch.”
“I felt when I was treating some of the cases that when I exhausted my scientific [methods] of the treatment plan, I would find myself standing or kneeling in front of the patient’s cage for a long time,” Kocher said. “I didn’t realize it at the time, because it felt like I was praying, that really what I found was more of an interaction of the energy.… It required a triangle between the doctor, pet and owner to be calm and relaxed for a total healing to occur.”
The clinic first planted its roots in Fairborn in 1946 under the direction of Kocher’s father, Ralph. At that time, the clinic was their home, but would later transition into the animal clinic. Kocher was born three years after the clinic opened its doors and grew up in a science-friendly environment.
As Kocher underwent his seventh through ninth grade years of school, he installed a prosthetic hip into a skeleton dog as part of a science fair project, for which he placed within the top 10 of the state. Dr. Ralph Kocher didn’t push his son into the veterinary field, but allowed him to have plenty of exposure. When David Kocher began at The Ohio State University, he wanted to become a biochemist engineer. However, he realized that he wished to see quicker results. The father-son duo didn’t feel a sense of competition between each other, as they were alike on some ways, but complimented each other in the areas that differed.
According to David Kocher, his father was the first to implement gas anesthetic and appointment scheduling within the Miami Valley. Throughout the late 1960s, Ralph Kocher was performing dental and orthodontic work on animals, taking care of Rod Sterling’s pets, as well as others who would fly in from the west coast. He ultimately practiced until he was 70 years old. David Kocher’s interests lied in orthopedics. Later, Towne and Country began utilizing ultrasound technology, the cutting laser then the therapy laser.
“I’ve done a fair amount of orthopedic surgery here, including spinal surgery, hip surgery, knee reconstruction and I still do a lot of that,” Kocher said. ” … It’s been a steady progression of things that have kept my interest.”
Healing touch became a regular part of the clinic around the time it started utilizing ultrasound technology.
“I took courses in ‘healing touch,’ which not only allowed me to feel it (the energy), but project it back to balance the patient’s chakras to make that animal more energetic and balanced so it could be more relaxed and healed,” Kocher said. “That projects to the owner, because we find the bonding the people have — they’re worried about their pet, the pet is worried about them, how do you get them out of that turmoil? — What I’ve found is relaxing the owner about the animal’s condition, in the end, benefited the pet.”
The healing touch has led him to work with a number of animal rescue groups. He has found that many of the animals associated with such groups hold onto phobias, pain and entrapment, which can make them less likely to be adopted from a shelter. Therefore, he and a group of individuals work to make the animals more relaxed, sometimes utilizing the healing touch, essential oils and music to do so. In an effort to prevent the use of traditional anxiety medication for the animals, Kocher shares these skills.
“We have some groups we work with routinely and have seen good success where animals who have been there for several months, after a week or two of working with them, they get adopted,” Kocher said. “That’s a huge fulfillment in my heart.”
But what keeps him going is “feeling good about doing some good.”
“Gratitude, taking time to reach out and help these pets like we have the ability to do, and seeing the out-pour of emotions from grateful owners is the biggest reward we could possibly ask for,” he said.