BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — After nearly four decades tending to the physical needs of pets and often the emotional needs of their owners, local veterinarian Dr. Douglas Brighton has retired from practice. The owner of Brannan Veterinary Clinic spent his last day in the office on December 28, finishing paperwork and enjoying time with coworkers. He spent his 38-year career providing veterinary care for cats and dogs in Maumee and the surrounding areas. “You go to school to learn to take care of the animals, but you learn that you also have to take care of the people, and that didn’t always come as easy to me,” he said. Reflecting on his lengthy tenure, Brighton could sum it up by saying it’s been a “delight.” “The best part of the business is that no two days are alike. It’s always interesting, challenging and fun. I’ve been one of the lucky ones who actually enjoyed their work.” Brighton became a partner at Brannan in 1989, one year after Dr. Randi Brannan invited him to join the practice. Then in 1992, when she moved out of state, he became the sole owner. Prior to working at Brannan, Brighton spent nine years working at Anthony Wayne Animal Hospital. “Maumee has been very business-friendly. I have liked working here and having a business here,” he said. Brighton grew up in Adrian, Mich., and graduated from Michigan State University. Regular trips to a family cottage on Devil’s Lake prompted him to search in this region for his first job out of college. “As you probably know, half of Toledo already has cottages on Devil’s Lake, so I did know friends that lived here, so that made it easy when I saw a job opening in Maumee,” he said. Through the years, significant changes in veterinary medicine, in terms of education and services, have changed medical treatment for animals. For Brannan, board certified specialists in the areas of neurology, dermatology and internal medicine have provided more options for pet owners. Emergency clinics have also eased the need for him to be on call for patients. “People are doing well with preventative medicine and they are being proactive to catch things in early stages and help with long-term health,” Brighton said. More interesting cases involve cats or dogs that eat things they shouldn’t, such as hair ties, bread bag clips and safety pins; and while he loves kittens and puppies, he has had to witness many families come to terms with end-of-life care. “It’s sad sometimes because there are animals that you’ve known since they were puppies, and it’s finally their time and you’ve got to help their owners through that,” he said. His clinic has assisted animal rescue groups including Maumee Valley Save-A-Pet and Planned Pethood. Dr. Walt Streaker will take over the practice. He joined the clinic five years ago and works alongside Dr. Susan Pontius and a support staff of eight. Brighton plans to spend his first year of retirement traveling and relaxing before considering new options. “The human-animal bond is important and people really never discussed it before, but now they realize it’s a real thing. Pets are part of the family. For me, this career has been the perfect blend of medicine, animal care and their people,” he said.