DRESDEN MILLS — Dr. Susan Bailey has always wanted to be a veterinarian.

But the idea that Bailey would operate her own veterinarian practice emerged only recently.

By mid-fall, it will be a reality.

Earlier this year, Bailey, 35, bought the property at 514 Gardiner Road in Dresden Mills, demolished the house standing on it and is now monitoring construction on a new building that will be the home of Porchside Veterinary Care.

It is, the 2010 graduate of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University said, a big step.

“This is actually an under served area for veterinary care,” she said, standing on her lot Friday. Behind her, work was progressing on the drainage system around the footers of her building.

For six years, Bailey worked at Coastal Veterinary Care at Wiscasset and in Boothbay when Coastal consolidated its offices in Boothbay. In August, she left that practice and started providing relief work evenings and weekends at Midcoast Animal Emergency Clinic in Warren.

As it turned out, that was the ideal situation when she started pursuing the idea of her own practice. She could work nights, leaving her days free to work on her building project and to reach out to clients in the area.

Bailey said she had considered only making house calls, but that would limit the kind of care she could deliver.

“I’m a big believer in continuity of care,” she said.

When Bailey opens her doors, she’ll work out how to balance house calls and clinic visits as she continues to add clients.

In the meantime, she is overseeing the project between house calls.

Bailey, who lives in Pittston, said when she decided to open a practice, she wanted to be in the village and on Route 27.

She couldn’t find properties, so she started cold-calling homeowners and asking them if they would consider selling. It was a little weird, she said, but some of them, she said, told her they would consider selling.

But then she saw the old blue house, just a couple lots south of the church at the south end of the village. It was under foreclosure, and she waited for it to be available.

“(The bank) put it up for auction and it was sold in 24 hours,” she said. It wasn’t ideal, but she was able to buy it from the person who won the auction.

Once she had the property, the problems became clear. The lot is at the bottom of the hill and during the spring, there was a foot of standing water south of the old blue house. What’s more, the house had been vacant for two years, and it had lead paint, water in the basement, mold and asbestos.

Renovating it, she said, would have cost maybe as much as $100,000, she said, and she would still have had a wet basement.

Jeff Pierce, a state representative who serves on the Dresden Planning Board and restores old houses for a living, said the house that stood there had been on the margins for years.

“It was that far gone that the historical society said they had no concerns,” Pierce said.

The building needed a new roof, new walls, new floors, new plumbing and new wiring, he said, and it’s a shame that it had reached that point.

“There has been great community support for it and it will be tasteful and will fit into the village,” he said.

So Bailey pulled what she could out of the house to use in the new space, including wide plank pine flooring, and knocked it down to make way for the new building.

Her plan is to have a building that reflects the historic character of the village, and as a nod to the home it’s replacing, she’s planning to make it blue.

It will feature a porch in the front, for a very good reason.

In working through her business plan and what to name her practice, she gave it a lot of thought. And knowing that for most practices, it’s the first word of the name that stands out.

“When I named the practice, I wanted the feel of what it’s like to sit on the porch and talk about their animals,” she said. “It’s a very different atmosphere. I noticed right off when I started doing in house calls, that we would end up on the porch talking about their animals.”

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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