In-home pet care

SagePet provides a calming vet for pets.
0523 Editorialcontent Startup

With a lifelong passion for helping the elderly and chronically ill, Miranda Braithwaite, 37, pursued a medical degree at UW–Wisconsin believing she would one day be helping humans. Then, in 2010, she adopted a wonderful pooch. That changed everything.

She shifted her career path from caring for humans to caring for pets.

Braithwaite worked at the Dane County Humane Society as kennel supervisor, and also at WisCares (photo above), which she describes as a marriage between vet school and the school of social work, before tacking on five more years of schooling to earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree as well as a Master of Public Health. Along the way, she also worked with Journeys Home Pet Euthanasia.

In 2021, she launched SagePet Home Veterinary Care to provide care for any number of animals — dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, hamsters, mice, and others. Her primary focus, however, is providing compassionate veterinary care to senior or chronically ill pets in the comfort of their own homes.

Braithwaite travels to appointments in her personal vehicle equipped with everything needed to conduct physical exams, administer vaccines, draw blood, or take urine samples. Should an animal require X-rays or surgery, she partners with a couple of local veterinary clinics. “We’re in this together to help animals,” she says of the arrangements. “We’re all health care providers and businesspeople.”

In a clinical setting, she could see up to 25 pet patients a day, but at SagePet, that number may be reduced to four or five, providing pets with more attention. Gas costs and travel time fluctuate, adding to the cost of in-home visits, but most fees are posted on the SagePet website.

Many animals are fearful of trips to the vet and can benefit from in-home checkups. Braithwaite’s ultimate goal is to extend their quality of life, but when treatment options run out, she can help pet patients transition peacefully over the rainbow bridge.

“Euthanasia is incredibly important,” she says. “It’s always difficult and always weighs on me, but when you think about it, it’s really a gift. We’re allowed to relieve our pets of their suffering. They’ve provided us with so much emotional support. Now it’s our duty to give back to them.”

Braithwaite provides compassionate care for humans as well. “I’ve had training in animal hospice and palliative care, and a big part of that is client grief and support. I tell people they’re being very selfless and making it easier for their pet, but unfortunately, it’s often harder on them. They’re doing the right thing, but if they choose, I can connect them with mental health resources.” Aftercare options (pet cremation) also can be discussed.

SagePet is already profitable because startup costs have been kept to a minimum. Braithwaite spends frugally and keeps her veterinary supplies in an extra bedroom at home. She launched slowly and advises other startups to do the same.

She also hired a lawyer and accountant early in the process, and only sees patients on Mondays and Tuesdays, working at a Verona veterinary clinic on Wednesdays and Thursdays to help cover her own costs. Fridays are reserved for administrative duties and an occasional patient. As the business grows organically, she’ll adjust her schedule. “I always had a passion for geriatric care and the elderly, but learned
I didn’t have the passion to be a physician,” Braithwaite says. “I’m just working with different species now.”

SagePet Home Veterinary Care
(608) 795-7243 (SAGE)