After five years working as a government vet in the west Kimberley region and seeing the potential of the emerging Pilbara, Dr Rick Fenny opened a private veterinary practice based in Roebourne from which he used a 16ft caravan as a surgery to serve the towns of Karratha, Dampier, Tom Price, Paraburdoo and Wickham.
Rick made less frequent visits to other regional towns and cattle stations and became the oncourse vet at several race meetings.
During these years of roaming the Pilbara and surrounding towns and stations, Rick would often cross paths with the legendary Red Dog and offer him a lift. He treated him frequently in Karratha but sadly had to put the dog down at his old stone house/surgery in Roebourne where Red Dog was a regular visitor.
In 1978 he secured a site in Karratha for a veterinary hospital and commenced to build his “dream hospital with a house on the top floor.” Dr Cameron Mortlock went into, partnership with Rick and worked at the Karratha Vet Hospital (until he relocated to Perth in 2007). Opening the new hospital meant that Rick could finally employ staff to ease the work load and offer an improved service so, as well as employing two nurses, Rick appointed his first vet assistant in March 1980.
During 1982 Rick purchased a run-down practice in Victoria Park, Perth, rebranded it the Victoria Park Vet Clinic and left it in the charge of Edgar and Barbara Gasiorowski.
In 1998 Dr Julian Jacobsen and his wife Nyaree became partners with Rick in the Victoria Park and Lathlain Vet Clinics and today Jules runs the practices with three fulltime and three part time vets.
Rick then began the Lockyer Avenue Vet hospital in Albany, purchased Newman Vet Hospital to which he attached the Tom Price branch practice.
Rick purchased the first of his UK practices in Hastings, East Sussex, the Victor Harbour Vet Hospital in SA and Winthrop Vet Clinic in WA. In 2010 the Rick Fenny Group was launched and the practices were branded Pets and Vets. By this time the group comprises 11 veterinary hospitals or clinics, including two in the UK.
Rick’s daughter Louisa has now moved to Exmouth to manage the practice there and a small clinic has been opened at Shark Bay where Rick Fenny will continue to practice on a part-time basis.
Celeste Holtzhausen has been appointed general manager of Pets and Vets.