Some people prefer the relaxed demeanor of cats.
Others prefer the unflinching loyalty of dogs.
But if you ask Dr. Kim Smith, she'll tell you she's a fan of both.
"I'm all of the above," she said. "I have both as pets, so I can't choose one or the other. I just find them both so interesting."
And Smith is an expert on the matter. She has been in the cat and dog business for more than seven years as the chief veterinarian and owner of Cornerstone Animal Care at 1410 Versailles Road. In that time, Smith has been expanding her business to offer services from a full-service animal hospital to surgeries to dental x-rays to ultrasounds and laser therapy.
But one of the aspects she has focused on to make here clinic stand out from others is the pursuit of becoming a "fear-free clinic," she said.
"Just like people, animals get anxiety when they come to the vet," Smith said. "They get nervous and scared. So we wanted to try to make it as comforting as possible. It's to condition them to not be as afraid of us."
The "patient" rooms are designed with cat trees and warming pads to set the pets at ease and entire staff does procedures in order to communicate with pets in order to not frighten them.
"I think the owners find it relaxing too," Smith said.
Situated in a corner unit of the Leestown Plaza, customers are greeted by a rotund tabby cat named "Charlie" that roams the lobby as they enter. Smith said she modeled Cornerstone's rooms after minimalistic clinics she's worked at in large cities, where every square foot either makes or takes money. The name of the business came from her two sons, who were in Bible school at the time and suggested the name.
"They were studying that part in their Bible class," Smith said. "So they said I should name it Cornerstone so you can build off it."
Smith said she grew up in Lexington and had family in Kentucky as she practiced veterinarian medicine in other parts of the country. As her family set out to return to the area in 2012, she decided to open her own practice and chose Frankfort as the best location. Since then, they grown in favor to the point that a customer suggested they be the focus of a State Journal Business Spotlight.
What started her on the career path, was a positive experience as a child when a veterinarian cared for her sick pet. It also provided Smith with the perspective that comfort at the veterinarian is key, which she continues to instill in her clients.
"The guy was incredible," she said of the veterinarian to treat her dog. "He was so nice and knowledgable, so I thought this was something I would like to do. I just had a good experience at a young age with a veterinarian."
Cornerstone also provides low cost spays and neuters to the Humane Society as part of their community-outreach efforts. Smith said she is most proud of providing an aspect of veterinarian services overlooked by others.
"The thing I am most proud of is embracing fear free and trying to build a different approach to veterinarian medicine," Smith said. "I feel like I try to invest in the people as well their pets. I want people to feel comfortable here to say whatever so I can help their pets."