The Market Common

Spotlight on veterinarian Dr. Gwynn Hardee and his special bond with animals

Photo by The Coastal Insider

Horry County native Dr. Gwynn Hardee has been practicing veterinary medicine at his Meadowlawn Animal Services for more than 40 years.

He grew up around cattle, pigs and dogs on his family’s farm in Loris, playing, hunting and fishing as a boy. He even nursed one of his dogs, Brownie, back to health after he was hit by a car. Despite that, Hardee didn’t originally decide to follow the natural path to his true love for animals; he instead went on to attend Clemson University as a chemistry major.

“I loved chemistry, but I forgot there was more quantum mechanics and math than I was used to, so I transferred into animal science and did that for four years,” says Hardee. I hadn’t really thought about being a veterinarian at the time.”

Instead, he moved to Atlanta after he graduated from Clemson with a degree in animal science and began work with Dekalb County Animal Control in the early 1970s. But, with a limited budget and handling about 20,000 sick and unwanted animals a year, Hardee was overwhelmed, yet determined that there had to be a better way. Which is why he actually formed an advisory board of veterinarians to aid in the situation and improve the condition of the shelter.

“After a couple of years, one of the veterinarians looked at me, said, ‘You need to go to veterinary school.’ And I said, ‘You think? Really?’” says Hardee. “And so that’s when I got interested when I saw these sick animals that we didn’t have the money to treat.”

Hardee was accepted into the University Of Georgia College Of Veterinary Medicine in 1975 – one of 13 students accepted from South Carolina each year – graduated in 1979, returned to his stomping grounds in Conway, and opened his first practice, Meadowlawn Animal Services. Today there are three locations in Conway, Loris and here in The Market Common, which opened in fall 2017.

The veterinary day clinic provides full health care onsite, including exams, vaccinations, in-house lab testing, OTC prescription products, radiographs (x-rays), laser therapy, dental care, surgeries and boarding. A Televet app even allows clients on file to email, Skype or video chat their questions to save them a trip to the office; house calls are also an option.

“Being a vet is a two-fold reward,” says Hardee. “One: you’re really helping the pet in a lot of ways to have a better quality of life, which is why I originally became one. And then you also help the owner to enjoy, lengthen and strengthen that pet bond, which is really an amazing bond that we have with animals.

“Some decisions that pet owners make cut that time short, and we try to help them to make better decisions,” he continues. “Sometimes it does boil down to economics, as in, they know that’s the best thing for their pet, but can’t afford to do that. And we always work with that constraint. That’s where we’re limited a lot of times by what people can and cannot do.”

But, no matter what, the staff at Meadowlawn goes above and beyond their duties at the clinic in their love and care for animals.

“We believe that there’s a right way to do things, nd if you do it right, you get better results,” says Hardee. “If you do it and shortcut it, you get poor results. We really care about the pets and we realize how important that pet bond is. And everybody that comes in here knows that.”

When Dr. Hardee is off-duty, he’s still surrounded by his love for animals and the love of his live, Peggy, a horse vet, on their farm in Loris. The couple raises 18 quarter horses and has nine poodles, one Chinese crested, five Russian wolfhounds, one Scottish deerhound, one golden retriever, one Chesapeake Bay retriever, one Scottish terrier (named Tanner the Magnificent) in the Loris office, and one cat (named Boo Kitty the Terrible) in the Conway office.

Meadowlawn is prepping to be involved in the upcoming popular Pooch-A-Mania event here at Grand Park April 5, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The family (and dog) friendly will feature a dog obstacle course, dog performers, food trucks, live bands, kids’ activities and vendors.

FacebookTwitterMore9

Meadowlawn Animal Services is located at 1206 Moser Drive. For more info or to schedule an appointment for your furry friend, call 843-282-2287 or visit www.meadowlawnvet.com.