If you’ve walked through our office doors, you have gotten to know Dianne Hembree. She’s a warm, southern gal who bakes the best cakes I’ve ever eaten. She is also a veteran of Pleasantburg Veterinary Clinic, and has done just about every job there is to do in the place.
“When I first came here 35 years ago, I did kennels in the morning, I did bathing, and then I was over here at 10 o’clock to start tech-ing,” Dianne recounts of her early days with us. “In the evenings, Doc and I would do the floors. We also did kennels on the weekends together. Back then, we had one groomer, one person up front, and then Doc and me.”
Dianne loves all creatures, great and small. She has a labrador retriever, four cats, two birds and a squirrel— all rescues. …You heard that right, she’s got a rescued squirrel and his name is Petey. The little guy came into her life 12 years ago when her son, Michael, was playing basketball and called her over to come see the tiny squirrel in the grass. Petey scrambled back up the tree but was back down by Michael’s dribbling ball just a short time later. This time, when Dianne came to see him, he held his little squirrel arms up to her as if to say “take me!” She raised him on a baby bottle; when she would feed him, her beloved late lab, Nipper, would lay next to him, licking and cleaning Petey, as if to sweetly welcome him into the family. The cats would even “pet” him with their paws— though Dianne muses that they were probably just trying to get at him!
Her birds have thrived under her care. One of these was found by a man in the middle of North Main Street. Dianne didn’t think the bird would live when she took him home 8 years ago. Now, he sings along to the tune of the Andy Griffith Show theme song. “You can start the song, and he’ll finish it,” She beams.
A little known fact is that Doc and Susan are the Pleasantburg Veterinary Clinic pranksters. They prank her all the time, but one of the best stories was when someone called the office because a chicken had fallen off of one of the big chicken trucks and had been found by the road. Dianne was keeping the chicken at the office for a while, and one day she checked on Dumplings to find that she had laid eggs! She excitedly showed Doc, and for weeks, her chicken laid eggs. “Come to find out, he and Susan had been placing eggs there all along,” she laughs. “But what was funny was, when I took her home, she started laying eggs every single day. I had to go hunt for them— she had 3 or 4 spots where she’d lay them.”
“Dumplings became a great pet — we bought this fancy chicken coop, my husband put it together,” Dianne recalls with fondness. “I was afraid to put her in it; I was afraid something would come and get her. So I kept her in our garage at night. Any time it got dusk, wherever we were, we had to leave and come home and find her and put her up.”
Dumplings and Noodles (another rescued chicken) became beloved family pets. Dianne says Dumplings was just like a dog, following her all over the yard. She’d sit on the deck with the family. When they drove up, she’d run to the gate to meet them. When Dianne would be gardening in the her flowerbeds, Dumplings would be right beside her as she was pulling up weeds, pecking the ground, hunting for worms.
We all adore Dianne and the way she loves and cares for animals. It’s people like her who make our office a family; Pleasantburg Veterinary Clinic would absolutely not be the same without her!