“Meet the Doc”
I’m Georgia-native since 1975 and went all eight years of college to University of Georgia. Got my doctorate in 1991 and opened my own place in 1996. I own three dogs, and innumerable fish and turtles.
I attended undergraduate school at University of Georgia where I got my Bachelor’s degree in Poultry Science in 1987. I attended University of Georgia Veterinary School from 1987 through 1991. I entered practice in 1991 and finally opened my own clinic in 1996.
When I was a kid we used to go to a vet who took the animals into the “back area” for everything. Which is fine. Except I always wondered what they were doing, and I thought “If they can’t do this in front of us, do we want them to do it?” (What’s so secretive?) So I decided that when I opened my own place, I’d do as much as I could with owner-present for the reassurance of the pet AND the owner. So that’s how it is to this day. That’s how my mentor Dr Mason used to do it, too.
I lived in Marietta Georgia since I was 10 years old. We moved here in 1975. I went to East Valley Elementary, Dodgen Middle School and Walton High School. My roots around here run deep. I had great teachers in all of those schools. I remember Miss Haley and Miss Weinberg at East Valley, Mrs Manley (Science Teacher) at Dodgen, and then at Walton, Miss Parrott, Miss Kendrick, Dr Stephens, Dr Hansen, Bob Cowles, Carol Bowen, so many quality influences. Well. I never actually had a class with Miss Parrott but if you saw her in the halls as a 16 year old boy, you would remember her forty years later, too!
When I opened my clinic in 1996 on Robinson Road, I declined to take a shift down at the dog pound putting homeless animals to sleep. Every vet was supposed to sign on for a weekend to come kill dogs and cats. That’s the way it was. But I didn’t go to school for 8 years to euthanize healthy animals. The penalty? I couldn’t be listed with the other Cobb County Vets on the Animal control Spay / Neuter Roster. So at the outset, I was invisible, and not recognized to perform certificate surgeries for Cobb County. (Still not, still won’t euthanize homeless dogs.)
Fortunately, kind customers discovered me and spread the word and I got away without killing a single healthy / adoptable pet in my whole career.
Now look, I don’t blame any vet for euthanizing dogs back then. It’s all we had. I was a spoiled brat and said “No” – and got away with it. That’s the only difference.
My Mom died of cancer. My Dad died of cancer too. I have two brothers. They’re great. One’s Kurt and he’s a real estate agent in Woodstock Ga. My brother David is in Dallas Texas and he’s a designer. I have three kids who are all grown up and living on their own thank god.
I binge watch shows like Game of Thrones, “I, Zombie”, Vampire Diaries, Banshee, Hell on Wheels, Longmire, Arrow and more. I eat too much and I’ve been on more than 200+ diets. I love to paddle a kayak and I never feel happier than when I am on or near some water: the beach, a river or a lake.
- Where did you grow up?
- We moved a lot. I was raised in Temperance Michigan, Clinton New York, then Marietta, Georgia. In all instances, I was not happy until or unless I was knee deep in green water grabbing critters.
- As far back as I can remember, I was catching fish, frogs and turtles.
- What University do you hail from?
- I am a proud graduate of University of Georgia undergraduate, poultry science major (I still keep dozens of chickens, pheasants and peacocks)
- Veterinary degree is also from University of Georgia.
- Besides Ajax, do you have any other pets?
- In the past, I’ve had lots of birds, like peacocks and chickens, lots of cats, too many dogs, crabs across numerous species, turtles of all kinds, thousands of gallons in South American fish, some Pig Nosed turtles for a breeding project, a Geochelone sulcata of 125 pounds named Atlas, some Wood Turtles (also for breeding project) a ton of other freshwater fish, Koi, and even a half dozen Bearded Dragons. Just basically way too many pets. I’d like to do a 5,000 gallon biotope tank of big cichlids. I’d like to do a heated outdoor breeding facility for Fly River Turtles.
- Using your Vet talents – what is the one thing you would like to accomplish or discover during your lifetime?
New work on intestinal microbiota and it’s impact on the immune system and other functions in people is blowing me away. I’d like to be part of introducing this to the animals that need it. drjohnson.com/fmt
- I also wrote a book or two.
Regarded as the first and last word on fish health for the pond fish hobbyist, in this second edition, every page has been updated and improved. After losing more than 70 pages of older information, the book still expanded from the first editions’ 160 pages to over 200 pages. This book is written in a conversational tone and meant to be understood and applicable to the beginner and advanced hobbyist alike. Well-reviewed by consumers and peers, this book is written authoritatively by a veterinary practitioner with 20+ years treating fish.