Their first meeting was coincidental—sort of—and they took a circuitous route here, but Chris Reagh and his wife, Chantel Raghu, have established themselves in this community, familiar to him as the place he grew up.
Since setting up a home here last year, Reagh has established himself in his father’s veterinary practice while his wife, a Texan by birth, commutes to Blue Ash to work in a veterinary surgical facility.
Both are as committed to their particular areas of veterinary medicine as they are to the community they now share. Chantel was elected Tuesday to Oxford City Council, along with fellow newcomer David Prytherch and incumbents Edna Carter Southard and Michael Smith.
Reagh is the son of Ron Reagh, a local veterinarian for many years, and he finds it both fun and educational to be working with his father in the practice.
“Dad is still active. I started last August (2016) and he is now in semi-retirement but he is there nearly every day. He is still enjoying it way too much to retire,” Chris Reagh said. “Working with dad is a blast. I’ve learned a lot. He’s a great vet. He knows what you’re good at and he knows what he does well.”
The couple met at orientation at the Ross College of Veterinary Medicine at St. Kitts, in the West Indies. Raghu said it was coincidental, just alphabetical, in line but said she had talked to a common friend before leaving for school and that person had told her to look him up.
She decided early on she wanted to do more than just routinely see her patients, but wanted to help the animals she treats in a deeper way and got into the surgical side of medicine. She said she enjoys the work and collaborating with colleagues to find and treat the problems.
“I love it. There are always options. People come to me thinking there are not options. I just always think there’s options,” she said. “I like helping the pet and communicating with the owner. It’s fun helping to manage their diseases and give them a better quality of life.”
The Blue Ash practice deals with emergency situations and specializes in animal internal medicine.
Even the two-hour commute does not bother her because it helps feed her civic-minded side.
“My commute is two hours. I listen to NPR every day and feel more educated. I don’t mind it,” she said.
It’s that civic-minded side that prompted her to run for city council this year. She said she has worked on local programs on the opioid epidemic and a health care forum on the Affordable Care Act.
“I want people to be civically engaged,” she said, adding her council run was exciting because of the number of people running for the four open seats. “Oxford is really a special town. There are always ways to improve. I like seeing people involved.”
Reagh said it is exciting to be back in Oxford where he grew up and be part of his father’s veterinary practice.
He said he practices on small animals, leaving the larger ones to other veterinarians but while his wife’s work primarily focuses on dogs and cats, he is often called upon to deal with a much wider range of patients.
In addition to the usual dogs and cats, he said he has seen rabbits, birds, ferrets, even a bearded dragon.
“I really enjoy the variety, really every single day,” he said. “Exotics are a challenge. Birds are a challenge. They are easily stressed. We’ve had snakes and spiders. It’s fun.”
The office keeps up with the latest trends and added ultrasound equipment last year. He comes by his profession thanks to his experiences growing up around his father’s practice.
“Growing up, the back yard was the clinic. I was seeing the animals working in the kennels as a kid,” he said. “I had a fascination with the medicine of it. That’s one of the things that drew me to it.”
He did his undergrad work at Ohio State University while Raghu was a student at the University of Texas-Austin. They each took a year off before vet school and their meeting in line at orientation.
She grew up in Texas, with a physician for a father, which may help account for her interest in medicine and she said she got interested in animal medicine by shadowing vets and “loved it.”
Reagh has been involved as a “Big Brother” with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, an experience he said has been fun and his wife enjoys sharing the experience with him, giving them both the experience of having an effect on a child. He has also been involved with the Animal Adoption Foundation in Ross, providing spay and neuter services to give back to the community. He has also spoken to kids in a literacy program and tries to have outreach to all age ranges.
“It’s important to have those programs,” he said, adding he promotes his profession with a mentoring program. “I have a shadow program with Miami University students. I’m passionate about teaching and I love passing that on. I love being around people who want to learn.”
He enjoys being back in the town where he grew up and said they want to be a part of the community in many ways, but said their jobs give them both satisfaction.
“We do love our job,” he said. “We can’t get enough of veterinary medicine.”