End of the tail … Long-time animal care advocate set for retirement

NEW PALESTINE — When people bring their furry friends to see the veterinarian at New Palestine Veterinary Clinic, Debby Hildebrandt is always there.

Whether it’s answering phones, checking out clients or visiting the pets in need of care, she’s a vital part of the day-to-day operations.

For the past 34 years she has been in charge of administrative work for the veterinarians at the clinic, including her husband, Wes Hildebrandt, with whom she owns the business.

That will change this year; Debby is planning to retire.

“It’s going to be different not having her around here working every day, that’s for sure,” Wes said. “It’s going to be an interesting transition.”

For more than three decades, his wife has done it all at the clinic, from cleaning cages to balancing the books. Debby has been a vital part of the animal welfare clinic, staff at the facility said.

“Whatever was needed to help things go smoothly, she’s done it,” Wes said. “I sure will miss having her here every day.”

While Debby will be stepping down, Wes said he will continue to work as a veterinarian and plans to be there indefinitely.

The couple met in 1970, married a few years later, moved to New Palestine and bought the New Palestine Veterinary Clinic in 1982.

In addition to working day in and day out at the clinic, Debby has been a big part of the New Palestine community and surrounding areas.

She’s been a member and board official for the New Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce for decades. She’s also been a part of the Hancock County Economic Development Council.

“Debby has done anything and everything for us,” incoming chamber President Gary Halliburton said. “Whatever we’ve asked of her, she just shows up and gets it done.”

The chamber board made her an honorary member for 2017 to let her know how much they appreciate what she’s done for the community.

Debby also has an active role at Cross of Grace Lutheran Church in New Palestine, where she helps with mission work.

Her retirement plans include helping out at church, traveling, reading and spending more time with her five grandchildren.

Debby and Wes started their life together in Milan, Indiana, then traveled to West Lafayette before moving to Indianapolis and eventually settling in New Palestine.

Debby attended college at IUPUI in Indianapolis where she studied accounting and business management.

Author photo
Kristy Deer is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3262 or kdeer@greenfieldreporter.com.