As a child, whenever Gregg Greiner wandered away from the house, his mother knew right where she could find him.
“My neighbor had two Labs,” said Greiner, a veterinarian with the on Cass Avenue in Darien for nearly three decades. “If I was ever missing, my mom knew to look out at the kennel because that’s where I’d be.”
Though always an animal lover, the Midlothian resident was a teenager before he got a pet of his own.
“There are eight kids in my family so we didn’t have the room or money,” Greiner said.
When he was in high school, his family adopted a Labrador mix they called Mittens.
“She was black with white feet, thus the name,” Greiner said. “She immediately became my dog.”
The west suburban vet talks about Mittens in his recently published book, The Laugh a Minute Clinic. While his book includes humorous anecdotes about his life as a veterinarian, as well as offers insights for budding veterinarians on how to apply for and get into vet school, Greiner also details how the choices he made early on got him where he is today.
“The underlying theme is that the decisions you make early in life will have profound effects,” he said. “You have to get into the habit early of making good decisions.”
While in college, Greiner said many of his classmates would rather spend their time at the bars than studying.
“Today a lot of those guys are still sitting on the same bar stools,” he said.
The veterinarian never thought he would one day be able to add author to his resume.
“I did seven years of college without writing a paper,” Greiner said with a laugh. “I’m the last person in the world to ever write a book.”
He describes his recent writing experience as “bizarre.”
“I would write five or six chapters in a week and think, ‘Thank God, that’s out of my head,’” Greiner said. “Then six months later I’d be back to writing again. Apparently it’s not my book, it’s God’s book. We’ll see what kind of plans God has for it.”
Though he adores working with animals, the job isn’t always easy, especially when a pet has to be euthanized.
“That’s the most difficult,” Greiner said. “I thought it would get easier as I got older. But with so many of the patients, I know them from the 'cradle to the grave' and I become attached, not just to the pets, but the families as well.”
On average, Greiner sees about 20 pets a day at Burr Ridge Veterinary Clinic.
His favorite part of the job?
“Wellness exams for a new puppy or kitten,” he said. “That’s certainly the most fun.”
Greiner’s book is already causing a buzz among his co-workers and pet lovers alike.
“It’s gotten rave reviews from everybody that’s reading it,” he said. “Everyone has said it’s made them think. That’s the biggest compliment.”
Tim Romaniszak, a veterinary technician at Burr Ridge Veterinary Clinic, calls the book “a fun read.”
“(Greiner) is quite a character and he’s very funny,” Romaniszak said. “He certainly gives a good perspective of how you shouldn’t stress over the little things. If you’re interested in becoming a veterinarian or even just interested in going away to school, he gives good insight. He came from a large family so it was interesting to get his perspective on going away and finally having his own room.”
Fellow veterinary technician Kim Nice lauds the book.
“I absolutely love it,” she said. “I think it’s an inspiration. Especially to anybody that’s going to go into the veterinary profession.”
Greiner will host a signing for his book, The Laugh a Minute Clinic, from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday at Burr Ridge Veterinary Clinic, 8120 S. Cass Ave., Darien. The public is invited to attend.The book can be purchased at the clinic for $20, or at Anderson’s Bookshop, 5112 Main St., Downers Grove.
For more information, contact Greiner at the clinic, 630-598-0600.