Mahomet veterinarian Dr. Joella Koss thanks community, family for recognition

Dr. Joella Koss knew she wanted to be a veterinarian as early as junior high school, and with a great deal of hard work and family support, she was able to make that dream a reality.

"When I think back, I can think clear back to junior high when we had a career day and just thinking I like all aspects of it," she said.

Koss was recently named as one of Central Illinois Business magazine's 11th annual Forty Under 40 award-winning class.

Her initial reaction?

"Honored and excited," she said.

"To be younger, and especially to be recognized in a smaller community like Mahomet with Champaign-Urbana so close, I just feel like I'm very proud and very honored."

Koss is one of three award winners who have Mahomet connections. Jacob Kuebler, who is a Mahomet-Seymour grad and owner and senior financial adviser of Bluestem Financial Advisors LLC in Champaign, and Jen Quinlan, who is the co-owner of Mahomet's Moon Grove Farm and the vice president of marketing for meShare in Champaign, are also area honorees.

"It's a really big deal for that many people from a small town to be recognized," Koss said of Mahomet's award winners. "There's so many people out there doing fantastic things."

The Unity High graduate said Mahomet's representation "speaks volumes" about the community.

"I think people in Mahomet care about the people that live here," she said.

The Pesotum native credited her father, Fred Koss, who was a mechanical engineer, for providing her with the desire to learn how things work.

"Taking things apart and putting them back together again is a really good feeling of completion and achievement," Koss said. "Seeing a pet come in injured and seeing it walk out normal again is a good feeling."

Koss studied at Lake Land College on a softball scholarship before earning a bachelor's degree in animal science from the University of Illinois in 2004, followed by a doctor of veterinary medicine degree in 2008.

Being named a Forty Under 40 recipient "really set in that all of that hard work has paid off," Koss said.

She began her career at Northgate Pet Clinic in Decatur, working there for two years prior to joining Arcola's Animal Health Care Center and then ultimately deciding she wanted to create a clinic of her very own.

"I wanted to branch out and do things on my own," she said.

In 2012, she set her sights on Mahomet and opened All About Animals Pet Clinic on Tin Cup Road. Koss would set permanent roots a year later by moving to 305 S. Prairieview Road.

In May, the clinic, which offers boarding, grooming, play care and veterinary services, celebrated its fifth year of service at the location.

"I couldn't have done this without all of the help," Koss said of the support she has received from her family, staff and the community.

Koss said her parents always encouraged her to pursue her dreams.

"Mom (Janier Koss) was always the one who would say, 'You can if you think you can,' " she said. "There was never any limitations. It was always, 'If you want to do this, we'll do whatever it takes to make it happen for you.'"

"While I was the one who had put in the hard work, they (her parents) were there always backing me no matter what," she added.

Koss pays tribute to her husband, Lucas Meharry, for making her Mahomet clinic dream a reality.

"He was the one after working a couple of different places that helped me make my dream come true — financially helping me support it," she said. "He's always the one whenever I have a late surgery at night and I'm supposed to be picking up the kids and I call him and I say, 'Can you pick up the kids? I've got emergency surgery.' He always says, 'Yeah, I'll figure it out.'"

As for the future of her clinic, Koss can't picture herself anywhere but at the red, barn-like facility, where she hopes to continue growing her businesses.

"I feel like we're so involved and entwined in the community that I can't see myself going anywhere else," she said. "I absolutely plan to be here indefinitely forever."

She'll be recognized at Thursday's Forty Under 40 luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Champaign's Hilton Garden Inn. For details on the event, contact Whitney Emmert at 217-351-5642 or fortyunder40@news-gazette.media.

The veterinarian invites community members to keep track of the latest happenings with All About Animals Pet Clinic on Facebook or at aaapetclinic.com.

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