When pet owners walk into Healing Tails, a veterinary physical rehabilitation and holistic medicine clinic in the South Loop, treatment options for their beloved animals are a little different than at most vets.
Healing Tails, 1921 S. Archer Ave., offers services including underwater treadmill therapy, laser therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic care and herbal medicine.
Arielle Herndobler, a Beverly native, opened the business on July 8. A Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences (CHSAS) graduate, she said that while pursuing her veterinary degree at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, she wanted to delve deeper into the underlying causes of animals’ health ailments.
She went on to obtain various certifications in acupuncture and physical rehabilitation, and now, she’s enjoying a career she’s dreamed of since she was a little kid: caring for animals.
“I feel like I was born that way,” Herndobler said. “I’ve always had a love for animals. I had stuffed animals instead of dolls growing up and took care of them. I was always drawn to them.”
Herndober, a 2001 CHSAS graduate, has practiced veterinary medicine for over 10 years, and in high school, she worked at Beverly Hills Animal Hospital.
Her new business focuses on caring for cats and dogs, especially geriatric pets, and she believes it is one of only four clinics in Chicago that offers such services.
Herndobler said she treats cats and dogs recovering from surgery, suffering from arthritis, healing from injuries or pets whose owners are seeking preventative care. Her plan is to partner with customers’ primary-care veterinarians to provide the most comprehensive approach possible.
Herndobler said two types of customers usually come into her clinic—those who are already seeking the specific treatment she offers, and those who are surprised to discover that she will be sticking needles in their dogs to perform acupuncture.
As an avid runner who has completed eight half marathons and two triathlons, she offers herself as proof that those types of treatment have a healing effect.
“I see that it works for myself for injuries that I’ve had, using a combination of acupuncture and physical therapy,” Herndobler said. “I’ve now replicated that with animals. It never gets old.”
Herndobler treated one dog, she said, who had severe neurological deficits and didn’t walk for several months until being treated.
Healing Tails offers a full therapy room, Herndobler said, as well as a fully equipped gym featuring physioballs, which are large rubber balls humans use to exercise or rehab.
The pool, she said, holds 400 gallons of water. Water slowly fills in, and pets can walk on an incline and move forward and backward.
She said pets that don’t like water grow soon comfortable in it.
“The water is warm,” Herndobler said, “so it feels good to most pets.”
During her career, Herndobler has also cared for manatees and primates in a sanctuary in Belize and worked with elephants in a sanctuary in Thailand.
She never owned pets as a child, she said, and always loved her friends’ animals.
Now, she owns two dogs—a Maltese mix named Louie and a Bichon named Fendi.
She said the South Loop is underserved in her type of veterinary practice, and she is confident that being near interstates 55, 90/94 and 290 makes her accessible to people throughout the city.
Her passion for animals hasn’t waned, and she’s excited to run her own clinic.
“It’s just what I love to do,” Herndobler said. “It doesn’t feel like work. I’m super excited to be here.”
Healing Tails is open Monday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Tuesday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
For more information, call (312) 929-3780 or visit healingtailschicago.com.