'Clinic crew are family:' Local veterinarian takes out home equity loan to pay staff

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SHOREWOOD, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A local veterinarian has done something not many people would probably do. He took out a line of credit on his home, so his employees wouldn’t get laid off.

Dr. Noah Arnold, a Shorewood veterinarian, has been running the thriving clinic, Dr. Noah’s Ark for a few years. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, he now mostly consults his cuddly patients through telemedicine.

“Dr. Noah’s Ark is my totally unbelievable and unrealistic and impossible dream come true,” he said.

Although he’s seeing 70-percent less animals, he hasn’t laid off any of his 30 staff members. “The idea of leaving them in the lurch and saying, 'hey, go wait in the unemployment line,' I couldn’t do it,” he said.

Dr. Noah made a promise to his staff that he would keep paying them, despite Wisconsin's stay-at-home order. He applied for the federal small business loan program, only to find out the money ran out -- it left him in a tight spot.

The dedicated vet did something selfless and went through his savings. “There was enough to get us through one month, and that month has come and gone,” he said.

To keep his promise to his staff, Dr. Noah increased the home equity loan on his home to $180,000 saying his staff is family. “If the clinic crew are my family, that’s who it’s for.”

However, he admits if the stay-at-home order is extended past May, the clinic won't be able to make payroll.

In the future, Dr. Noah hopes to invest in an online animal pharmacy to adapt to the current economy.

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