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Three Generations Serve Community

From father Tom to son Frank to grandson Andy, three generations of veterinarians are serving the community through the Escalon Small Animal Clinic.

The Hagan family has been involved in the veterinarian field for decades, three generations already, and a fourth is in the wings.

"I was born and raised into it," said Frank. "I went out on calls all over the valley and as I got older, I got to an age where I decided this is what I wanted to do."

All three Hagan men agree that being a veterinarian is a special calling, one that typically means hard work and late nights.

Originally, when Tom Hagan began his business here, he did all house calls and primarily dealt with large animals, including dairy cattle and horses.

The practice later grew into one where they established a veterinarian clinic and now keep regular office hours, in addition to some nighttime clinic hours.

"My dad retired in the process of building a golf course," Frank explained.

But elder statesman Tom decided he wasn't ready to quit practicing and now continues to work with his son and grandson at the clinic in addition to devoting some time to his Escalon Golf Course across the street.

"I'm unretired," Tom said, smiling broadly.

He started his practice in June 1950 and son Frank joined him in 1976.

"I went into the golf business after Frank got out of vet school," Tom explained.

The small animal clinic has made a couple of moves but the current location along Escalon Avenue has been home for quite some time now and also includes an adjacent small animal center for boarding of animals.

Tom attended UC Davis and also Colorado A&M, while Frank went to UC Davis as well. Andy, the newest partner in the family business, did undergraduate work at Stanislaus State and served as a technician for his dad for a couple of years before gong through his own veterinarian training.

"I started practicing with my dad in April 2006 and we do predominantly small animals," he said.

Traveling to St. George, as well as Purdue University and UNC for his training, Andy said he didn't feel like he had to follow in his father's and grandfather's footsteps, but he's glad he did.

"I was never pressured to go into veterinary medicine," Andy explained. "I was brought up around animals and I like biology. I got really interested in science when I was at Stan State and it was a no-brainer to merge the two ... animals and medicine."

Their ages span six decades, with Tom at 92, Frank at 57 and Andy at 30.

Frank said his dad doesn't handle a whole lot of cases now, but still likes to stay involved.

"He just comes in and makes sure we're taking care of things," Frank noted.

The community, Andy said, enjoys the continuity of the true family business.

"There are a few clients that have seen all of us," he said. "People warm up to that."

Other members of the family working in the business are Frank's wife Carmen, who oversees the office staff, and their daughter Sara Ghiglieri, a veterinary technician.

Sara's daughter, five-year-old Alexis, comes in after school and helps with cleaning cages and likes to spend time with the animals, with another couple of Hagan grandchildren - Andy's son Drew and Sara's son Noah - ready to join the ranks sometime soon.

There are three exam rooms, two works stations and a surgery unit at the animal hospital, and a staff ready to tackle any cases that come through the door.