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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    March 09, 2020

    10 Questions: Marty Greer: Taming the Beast

    Veterinarian/lawyer Marty (Marthina) Greer manages both an active veterinary practice and an active law practice. We're not quite sure how she does it, but we know there's a corgi involved.
    Marty Greer with dog

    Marty Greer and her husband operate a veterinary clinic in Lomira, where they’ve become known for their C-sections and breeder care, among other veterinary services. Marty also operates a law practice in Stevens Point. She has a special fondness for Pembroke Welsh Corgis, like the one pictured here. Photo: Tatiana Shirasaki

    Where did you grow up?

    I was born in Omaha, spent four years of my youth in Phoenix, and lived for seven years in Iowa. My mother and my husband grew up on farms. My first pet was a chicken! My husband and I raised our kids on a farmette and in our large- and small-animal veterinary clinics.

    When did you decide to become a veterinarian?

    Unlike most kids who decided when they were 8 years old to become a veterinarian, I decided while in high school to follow this career path. I loved science and problem-solving. I considered human medicine, but it turns out, I don’t like sick people. I also could never see myself telling a family their child was going to or had died. It’s hard to tell a pet owner that about their dog or cat, but I never could do that for a human family member.

    How did you become interested in canine reproduction and pediatrics as a special focus?

    I grew up with a neighbor in Arizona who had a family of Pembroke Welsh Corgis – I was privileged to house sit for them. But my sisters and my dad had allergies, so as a kid, having a dog was not in the cards. I waited 25 years to get my first corgi, and always planned to have just one litter. When we got bumped up the wait list because we knew the right people, we purchased our first corgi, and by the time we left the breeder’s home, we had agreed to show and breed her. Showing dogs gave us the bug to continue showing and breeding. Thirty years later, we are still breeding.

    Once a veterinarian’s clients find out the vet is a breeder, he or she becomes a “breeder vet” or “repro vet” by default. One thing led to another, and we became known for our C-sections and breeder care. We then became a canine-semen freezing center – yes, that really is a thing. A staff doctor and a technician nudged me into writing a book (Canine Reproduction and Neonatology). The book launched a new career for me as director of veterinary services at Revival Animal Health. That job is in addition to working full time in my veterinary practice in Lomira.

    What types of patients do you see in your veterinary practice?

    Ninety percent of our patients are dogs, 10 percent are cats. We see very few other species. The dogs are of all breeds, both purebred and mixed breeds, purpose bred, and rescues. Five other doctors are in our Lomira practice, including my husband who practices with me. Each one has a special area of interest, allowing us to offer our little town a wide variety of highly skilled doctors.

    We also own a two-doctor practice in Sun Prairie, and we hope to open a new practice there that will offer a completely new way to deliver veterinary services.

    You were already quite busy with your veterinary practice. What made you also want to practice law?

    I knew I would not retire well – I love what I do and love working. I knew I couldn’t just sit around once I got to what most people would consider an appropriate retirement age. I also considered becoming board certified in theriogenology, the study of animal reproduction. But it seems clients don’t care if you are certified; they just care that you know what you are doing and will do their dog’s C-section on Christmas Day.

     So instead, I looked for a career that blended with veterinary care, but would not be quite as physical. I needed something to do that I could continue to do when I get too old to crawl around on the floor chasing dogs. My sister and brother-in-law are both attorneys in the Twin Cities. It seemed like a good idea at the time. My law degree has opened many doors for me.

    What types of legal matters do you handle at Animal Legal Resources?

    The legal matters we handle are primarily related to animal ownership, owners’ rights, animal welfare, and related contract disputes. The biggest cases we have handled have involved local authorities seizing dogs from their owners and contracts involving animal ownership. I love helping people and the pets they love.

    What are the developing issues in animal law? What should pet owners watch for?

    My biggest concern as an animal owner, veterinarian, and attorney is the potential change of the status of animals from property to “persons.” While on the surface, many people may think pets should not be classified as property, a change in the status could threaten pet owners’ rights. I believe we need to find a category that changes animal status from property, equal to a chair or car, to something between property and family members. It would not be good for pet owners or veterinary medicine if animals become persons. Changing their status to that of a “person” has many unintended consequences.

    How do you manage a law practice in Stevens Point and a veterinary clinic in Lomira?

    Honestly, most of what I do is still veterinary. I have a great law partner in Stevens Point, at Animal Legal Resources, and at Kessler and Greer who does the vast majority of the legal work. I speak extensively across the country so I am the rainmaker for our legal practice.

    You recently attended the State Bar’s G. Lane Ware Leadership Academy. How will you use your new skills?

    Although I have owned and managed my veterinary practice for 37 years, and I am very active on boards in my community and in organized veterinary medicine, I still need to improve my interpersonal relationships. I don’t think you can ever be too good at working with team members, your family, or others.

    What do you do in your free time?

    What free time? Oh, yes, I do have a family. I am married to Dan Griffiths, a classmate in veterinary school. We have been married 38 years. We have two grown children. Katy, our daughter, is a nurse practitioner at Marshfield Clinic. She is married to Tim, a Ph.D. entomologist (a bug guy), and they have a 2-year-old son, Jorin. Being a grandmother is as great as they say it is – spoiling a grandson is great sport.

    Our son, Karl, is married to Kelly and lives in the greater Milwaukee area. Dan’s mother and my father are still living. We spend as much time with family as possible. We also love to travel and do so extensively both for work and for pleasure.

    Who was your choice to win at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in February?

    I would love it if a dog we bred would win. Six years ago, we bred a very nice red and white Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Patty, “Double G’s That Kind of Girl.” Three years ago, she won our national specialty. Although we don’t own her (she belongs to two very dear friends who also own her father), we attended the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show to cheer her on in the breed judging.

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