Our Veterinarians

Dr. Louis Burch

Owner, Veterinarian

Dr. Louis Burch grew up in Little Rock Arkansas and lived with his grandmother and grandfather. His grandfather, Dr. Gebauer, was a PhD bacteriologist and had a great influence on his life and even though he died when Dr. Burch was young he contributed significantly to him becoming a veterinarian. His grandfather was multitalented and always encouraged Dr. Burch to follow in his footsteps. He introduced Dr. Burch to innumerable hobbies one of which was model airplane building. At that time building models required some modicum of manual dexterity. Later that skill benefited him immeasurably with good eye/hand coordination which greatly contributed to his ability to perform surgery.

Since early childhood Dr. Burch has always been deeply connected to animals of all kinds. Back in the day (1950) one could order exotic animals of all kinds from Florida. Being a kid, he thought this was a great opportunity to start his own personal zoo! One afternoon after another lovely day at school, his grandmother met him at the front door tapping her foot and saying “there is a 2’ alligator in my kitchen sink!” He was very excited that his alligator had arrived but somehow his grandmother did not share his enthusiasm. However, she finally put her foot down after his 24 snapping turtles arrived and then he proceeded to dig up the backyard to make a proper pond for his new pets. His grandmother’s house was constantly overrun with dogs, cats, bantam chickens, pheasants, pigeons, hawks, owls, frogs, lizards and yes numerous snakes which he kept in his room. As you might imagine most of his meager allowance was spent on buying food for his growing “zoo” and as he reflects back on it, that money was money well spent.

Dr. Burch knew from a young age that his calling was to become a Veterinarian. He did, however, encounter a few obstacles along the way. As an example, when he consulted his “esteemed” guidance counselor during his senior year of high school and confided in her that he wanted to be a Veterinarian, she said “oh honey, you are not near smart enough to be a Veterinarian but you might be able to drive a truck or something like that”. His reply was “Just watch me”. He enrolled at the University of Arkansas in pre-Veterinary Medicine and after two years was fortunately selected as one of the 3 out-of-state applicants to attend Oklahoma State University School of Veterinary Medicine. He graduated from Veterinary school in 1963 during the Vietnam conflict and was “invited” by his local draft board to do his part for the “peace effort”. Fortunately, he only had to spend a short time in the jungles of Vietnam to care for and treat the injured sentry dogs. (The less time he spent there the better as far as he was concerned!). He was pleased to return to the states with both his life and some semblance of sanity. (As they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.)

Dr. Burch served his country for 15 total years as an Air Force Veterinarian—he was stationed in Germany, China, Colorado, Texas, and Japan—before deciding to settle in California and launch his career in private practice. He purchased a small free-standing building in downtown Redlands and set about remodeling it into a veterinary clinic; after many laborious hours and a large bank loan, Dr. Burch opened the doors for business! On opening day, his only patient was a sick goldfish in a milk bottle—even though his grand opening was somewhat anticlimactic, the clinic soon outgrew its facility, and Dr. Burch purchased a 5,000-square-foot building a short distance away. The Animal Medical Center of Redlands has been at this location for 38 years, and likely to stay here!

For Dr. Burch, the greatest joy of his work is the ability for him to make a difference in the quality of life for both pets and their owners. Making a positive impact for as many patients as he can is a dream come true! Even after 55 years, Dr. Burch still enjoys coming to work every single day to help others live happier, healthier lives.

Even though Dr. Burch devoted his entire adult life to the practice of Veterinary Medicine, he found time to pursue several diverse hobbies. He collects old caterpillar tractors (approximately 100) which range in size from a D8 (60K LBS) to a CAT10 (which fits easily in the back of a pickup truck). He also has a collection of radio-controlled boats (approximately 50) and radio-controlled tanks which weigh up to 250lbs each. Another one of his hobbies is collecting antique cars and trucks. The oldest truck he owns currently is a 1916 Pierce Arrow which was used in WWI. Maintenance of all of these treasures (some would say junk) is almost a full-time job and keeps him out of trouble.

When he isn’t maintaining his diverse collections or tending to pets’ needs here at the hospital, Dr. Burch can be found spending quality time with his family. He and his wife, Darlene (Head Veterinary Assistant here at the Animal Medical Center of Redlands!) have two children: Nicole, who serves as the clinic’s Hospital Administrator, does everything necessary to make the hospital run smoothly. Brandon is currently in his third year of college and “may” become a veterinarian in due time. His son-in-law, Levi, works as a Veterinary Assistant and is also on duty 24/7 (Would this be called a family-centered business?) Yes!!!. As a hobby, Dr. Burch’s wife and daughter raise show sheep which most would consider a full-time job seeing as the flock is almost up to 100 head. Dr. Burch and Darlene share their home with many pets: a Bernese Mountain dog; an Akbash; a French Bulldog; a Miniature Pinscher; a Chihuahua (which was found in Fontana with a shattered pelvis); a Dachshund mix; and about 100 koi fish ranging in size from 8”-2’ which happily live in Nicole’s old swimming pool much to her chagrin.

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Dr. Megan Dispenza

Associate Veterinarian

Dr. Megan Dispenza was in the seventh grade when she first came across the idea of becoming an animal doctor. She took an aptitude test, which stated that she was meant to become either a landscaper or a veterinarian—Dr. Dispenza happily chose the latter! By the time she was falling in love with the sciences a few years later, her mind was made up. Dr. Dispenza hasn’t looked back since, and is now proud to serve the area’s pets and animal owners as an Associate Veterinarian.

Dr. Dispenza grew up on a dairy farm near Lake Erie in northern Ohio, where her early experiences in agricultural education laid the foundation for her eventual career in animal healthcare. Her professional education led her from Ohio to Arizona, and eventually here to California—Dr. Dispenza first started helping out with surgery cases here at the Animal Medical Center of Redlands a few years ago, and is now a full-fledged member of the hospital family and can be found tending to pets’ needs here at the clinic two days per week.

As a vet, Dr. Dispenza especially enjoys dermatological work and the immediate relief it can provide her patients. She also loves surgery—orthopedic and soft-tissue procedures are her favorite—and working with particularly difficult behavioral cases. Most of all, Dr. Dispenza enjoys using her skillset to improve the lives of not only pets, but the loving owners who care for them as well.

When time permits away from work, Dr. Dispenza enjoys exercising, cooking and enjoying her favorite plant-based dishes, and spending quality time with her family and pets at home. She has two wonderful sons and also shares her life with multiple horses and dogs, a know-it-all cat, and a long-lived fish.

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