Dallas native and veterinarian, Karen Fling, is a tireless animal advocate and a great believer in community outreach. Dr. Fling takes every opportunity to spread the word about how to best care for pets and she and her team of nearly 70 employees are devoted pet care givers committed to the community they live in.
A graduate of Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Karen Fling has always viewed her role in the community as much more than a medical caregiver and emphasizes education in and outside of her practice. She began publicly promoting loving, responsible relationships between people and their pets on the radio show Dr. Jim's Animal Clinic and thereafter worked for various media and became the weekly featured veterinarian on KXAS/NBC delivering segments on pet care and news. In addition, she has offered public education related to veterinary medical progress and options in pet care, hosting the weekly radio All About Pets on 1190 AM. Dr. Fling has also been a regular columnist for City and Country Pets magazine and has acted as a spokesperson for the Pfizer, Merial, American Veterinary Medical Association and the Dallas County Veterinary Medical Association. The Texas Veterinary Medical Association has recognized Dr. Fling as an outstanding practitioner and for her public relations work in excellence in education related to proper animal health care. Additionally, Dr. Fling has been voted the "best vet" on multiple occasions by D Magazine and the practice has been recognized as the "best vet for overprotective pet parents" by the Dallas Observer. Other awards received include the Hospital Design award and Practice of Excellence award given by the Veterinary Medical Publishing Group.
As owner of East Lake Veterinary Hospital in Dallas for over 20 years, Dr. Fling has incorporated all aspects of her philosophy in its design: pets are members of the family. They should have the best medical care and individualized treatment during their visit. Plush lodging areas include dog bedrooms with small televisions and cat condos with a view to outdoor birdfeeders. Additionally, a pet visitation room furnished with comfortable couches and floor pillows is available. Future plans for East Lake Veterinary Hospital include expansion and job creation with opening of the East Lake Cat Care Center scheduled to open in late 2013 as well as the addition of expanded pet emergency services.
In 2001, Dr. Fling began a non-profit pet adoption program, East Lake Pet Orphanage, which successfully matches the personalities of hundreds of homeless animals with new families every year. All of the pets placed are spayed or neutered, current on immunizations, and in the best health possible.
The orphanage is a no-kill facility that not only accepts well pets, but also those requiring extensive rehabilitation. If an animal is treatable, no matter how serious the problem, every effort is made to ensure that pet can be adopted. East Lake Pet Orphanage's board of directors takes no compensation and operates with a passionate, long tenured, volunteer driven team of over 200 people who contribute over 5,300 hours of service a year.
In fact, this year's volunteer force has grown by 51% with new supporters of the cause joining every day. Dr. Fling and her team of 7 veterinarians and 60 employees are proud to have rescued, rehabilitated, and rehomed thousands of pets from the Dallas city streets.
Some of the more noteworthy rescues have included "Skinny" the 40 pound cat and the goat, Great Dane, and three-legged retriever trio. East Lake has received recognition and praise from D Magazine, The Observer, The Advocate, Urban Animal magazine, The Dallas Morning News, channels 4, 5, 8, 11, 33, and mention on the Conan O'Brien show and has been featured on the National Geographic's "Uncommon Animal Friends" program.
With the city of Dallas' 80% euthanasia rate for homeless pets, the orphanage knows they cannot save them all, but works to do everything humanly possible to save the ones that they can.
Dr. Fling has been active within her profession as president of the Dallas County Veterinary Medical Association and its non-profit counterpart which she co-founded, the Dallas County Veterinary Medical Foundation. Additionally, she has spent many years serving as the Dallas County Veterinary Medical Association Public Relations Committee chairperson and has served on the Dallas Animal Shelter Commission. Besides her love for pets, Dr. Fling is devoted to her husband David, who is also an area veterinarian, and their four children Anneliese, Ian, Gabriel, and Shan Shan.