Like father, like son

James Dircksen, second from left, has joined the practice at the Animal Care Clinic in Auburn. He is his family’s third-generation veterinarian, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Richard Dircksen, and Animal Care Clinic co-owner and father Andy Dircksen, far left. With them are practice veterinarian Kyle Yarde, second from right, and practice co-owner, Dave Dettmer, far right.

AUBURN — James Dircksen grew up around veterinary medicine. His late grandfather, Richard Dircksen, was a veterinarian and owned the Garrett Veterinary Clinic for many years. His father, Andy, also is a veterinarian and co-owner of the Animal Care Clinic in Auburn.

“I grew up going on farm calls with dad,” James Dircksen said. However, he added, he did not find the calling to go to veterinary school until he was in college. He went on to graduate from veterinary school at Purdue University, becoming the third-generation veterinarian in his family.

Now, Dircksen is the newest veterinarian at the Animal Care Clinic in Auburn, joining his father, practice co-owner Dave Dettmer and veterinarian Kyle Yarde.

James Dircksen’s focus is primarily on dogs and cats.

“I cured him of doing farm work,” his father quipped, recalling how James has seen him get kicked to the ground by a cow during a farm call.

“He decided large animals wasn’t what he wanted to do," the elder Dircksen added with a smile.

While at Purdue veterinary school, Dircksen worked for a time in the oncology department, where he saw clients “going above and beyond” in seeking treatment for their pets with cancer.

In 2016, Dircksen and his wife, Christine, were married, and the couple returned to northeast Indiana. Dircksen worked in a small practice in Fort Wayne for a year before moving to Traverse City, Michigan, and taking a position at a practice in Elk Rapids.

“We kept coming back home (to Auburn) for lots of things and stayed connected to the area,” Dircksen said. The couple decided to return to Auburn, and Dircksen began practicing at the Animal Care Clinic about a month ago.

It’s a move Dircksen is glad he made.

“The atmosphere here is very laid-back,” he said, describing the practice’s staff as open-minded and collaborative.

Dircksen said he especially enjoys feline medicine, internal medicine and dentistry and oral health of animals.

He is “Fear Free” certified, having learned how to use techniques that help pets and their owners feel comfortable and less stressed when visiting the vet's office.

“The goal is to use handling that lowers stress, to make animals feel less scared and fearful,” he added.

Dircksen himself is a pet owner, having an English shepherd named Sidney, a cat named Rosie and a chinchilla named Tacos.

Andy Dircksen is glad to have his son on board at the clinic and to see that the family’s longstanding ties to veterinary medicine are continuing.

“He wasn’t pushed towards it,” said the elder Dircksen. “Like me with my father, he’s grown up around this.”

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