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Rich Square Veterinarian in a League of His Own

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RICH SQUARE — Some people cannot afford to retire from their jobs. In Northampton County, some people cannot afford to let their veterinarian retire.

Dr. James Brown is the only animal doctor in or near the town of Rich Square. Even if there were others to choose from, customers say Brown is irreplaceable.

Rich Square is rich in heritage. So rich, there is a hall of fame to chronicle the lives of its favorite sons and daughters.

One future hall-of-famer lives and works just east of town. His office, built in 1947, is a familiar landmark to animal lovers.

"The people that are depending on me, I'm treating the grandchildren of the clients that I started out with 53 years ago," says Brown.

For 12 of those 53 years, Frank Johnson has been bringing his hunting beagles to Brown's office.

"He's a terrific veterinarian," says Johnson. "Everybody in the neighborhood, [even] people that's out of the neighborhood, bring their dogs from varying places to Dr. Brown."

Brown decided to go to veterinary school in Alabama in 1939 because there were no veterinarians in or near Rich Square.

A few other vets have opened and closed their shops in the area since 1947. Today, Brown is the only veterinarian within 20 miles. And at 80 years of age, he holds a distinction that spans the state.

"There are some in the state that are older than I am, but they don't work full time," says Brown, who has no plans to change his schedule any time soon.

"Because I like it just as well as I did when I came here 53 years ago," he says.

"I don't think Dr. Brown will retire," says Johnson. "I think when Dr. Brown retires is when God retires him from this earth. That's when I think he will retire from medicine."

Dr. Brown began his veterinary work treating large farm animals. Since there are fewer cattle operations and no dairy farms left in Northampton County, he spends his time treating dogs and cats.