Dr. Sonya Chavis - Lead Fayetteville Veterinarian at Cliffdale Animal Hospital
From Humble Beginnings to Healing Paws: The Journey of Dr. Sonya Chavis
Dr. Sonya Chavis was raised in a family with limited financial means, but this did not hinder her family's love and compassion for animals. Stray creatures would often find their way to the Chavis home, and Dr. Chavis, along with her siblings, would care for them with whatever means were available.
The family's acceptance and care for stray animals ignited a passion within the young children. Dr. Chavis, in particular, found the work fascinating, developing a special interest in science and the inner workings of things. This early exposure to caring for animals fostered a love that led both Dr. Chavis and her younger sister to pursue careers in veterinary medicine.
As a middle school student, Dr. Chavis wrote about her aspiration to work in the field of veterinary medicine, a desire that only intensified as she sought education and opportunities related to it. During high school, she took a medical class that included hands-on experience at a local veterinary hospital, solidifying her determination to become a veterinarian.
For undergraduate studies, Dr. Chavis attended UNC Pembroke, near her hometown, where she completed a four-year bachelor's degree in zoology. This choice allowed her to stay close to her family and continue working at the veterinary practice where she had gained experience, simultaneously saving money for veterinary school.
After initially failing to gain admission to veterinary school, Dr. Chavis' persistence paid off the following year when she was accepted into NCSU- College of Veterinary Medicine. She graduated in 2013, culminating in a journey of determination and passion.
Dr. Chavis began her professional career at Pembroke Veterinary Hospital near UNC Pembroke, where she had previously worked during high school and undergraduate studies. After four years at this practice, she continued to grow and develop her skills working with Dr. Kent Dean in Hope Mills for six years.
The mix of working with experienced mentors and different practices has shaped her into the practitioner she is today. After ten years in the field, Dr. Chavis knows she is ready to fulfill a long-held dream of owning a practice. The timing seems providential, as circumstances align to make this opportunity possible.
Her husband, Henry, who holds a business degree, manages the office side of the practice, allowing Dr. Chavis to continue focusing on what she loves most – practicing veterinary medicine. His support and his role as office manager are instrumental in running the practice.
Opening her practice feels like a natural progression in Dr. Chavis's career, aligning perfectly with her long-term goals. The combination of her veterinary expertise and her husband's business acumen allows her to create a practice where she can care for animals while fulfilling entrepreneurial aspirations.
Dr. Valenti's legacy in this community is built on consistency. She has been a steadfast presence in the area, providing dependable veterinary care to pets and earning the trust of pet owners who value a lasting relationship with their veterinarians. This consistency resonates deeply with people, and Dr. Chavis fully recognizes the importance of it, planning to continue in Dr. Valenti's footsteps by providing the same reliable service.
Dr. Chavis's commitment to this practice is long-term. She is not interested in being here for just a few years and then moving on. She envisions herself in this community for the remainder of her career, much like Dr. Valenti before semi-retiring.
While she appreciates the need for continuity, Dr. Chavis also recognizes that veterinary medicine is changing. As a general practitioner, she is aware of the shifts in the industry. Niche practices focusing on specific areas are emerging, and general practices must adapt. Pet owners are increasingly treating animals as family members, leading to greater interest in specialized services, surgeries, rehabilitation, and more.
Her experience with Dr. Dean at Southern Oaks Animal Hospital and Central Animal Hospital, guides her in expanding the offerings of this practice. Dr. Chavis's vision for growth and development builds upon Dr. Valenti's strong foundation and seeks to identify potential gaps in the area's services.
By aligning with the community's need for consistent, trusted care and the evolving trends in veterinary medicine, Dr. Chavis aims to enhance the practice's reputation while also introducing new, specialized services.
Animal welfare is paramount, and prioritizing the safety and well-being of the animals she treats is at the core of Dr. Chavis's approach. She seeks to turn what could be a stressful experience into one that's as pleasant and relaxed as possible. The goal is to build a lasting relationship with the animals and their owners, grounded in trust, compassion, and understanding.
Explaining medical conditions and treatment options can be complex. Dr. Chavis consciously tries to talk to pet owners clearly and attentively, using plain language and observing non-verbal cues to ensure complete understanding.
Compassion and communication play a crucial role in Dr. Chavis's practice, especially when dealing with pet owners in distressing situations. She handles such cases with a delicate balance of empathy, clear communication, and non-judgment. She strives to convey understanding and support while guiding pet owners through decisions without imposing her views.
As she works on establishing the practice, implementing necessary changes or improvements without disrupting continuity is a priority for Dr. Chavis. The challenge lies in finding a balance between enhancing the practice and ensuring a smooth transition. The process is gradual, taking into consideration existing staff. She focuses on one change at a time, enhancing transparency and maintaining trust, honoring the legacy of the practice while positioning it for future success without sacrificing quality care.
With the recent practice purchase, Dr. Chavis is fully aware that she has embarked on a new journey. Every decision, interaction, and adjustment reflects a thoughtful approach guided by her love for veterinary medicine, a commitment to the community, and a vision for a bright future for the practice. The dream has just become a reality, and the path ahead is filled with promise and potential.
In her personal life, Dr. Chavis' love for animals continues to thrive. Living with her husband, Henry, they enjoy the company of their two dogs and six cats. Their home in Shannon, near Red Springs, provides a tranquil environment that contrasts sharply with her fast-paced professional life.
Though Dr. Chavis has ventured slightly farther from her birthplace of Lumberton, she remains a hometown girl at heart. Her connection to her roots is something she cherishes, symbolizing a close-knit, small-town feel where everyone knows each other.
Her story, one of perseverance, passion, and connection to her community, illustrates how humble beginnings can evolve into a fulfilling career. Dr. Chavis' journey from caring for stray animals in her childhood to becoming a seasoned veterinarian and practice owner demonstrates the power of unwavering determination and love for one's craft.
Are you searching for personalized, compassionate care for your furry family members? Come meet Dr. Sonya Chavis at Cliffdale Animal Hospital. Her commitment to animal welfare, clear communication, and quality veterinary medicine make her the ideal choice for your pet's needs. Schedule a vet appointment to experience her thoughtful approach first-hand. Contact us here or call us at 910.487.5013 to book your appointment today. Dr. Chavis and her team are eager to welcome you and your pets!