Robert "Doc" Merkin, DVM

I am first and foremost a family man. The most important thing in my life is family. I have been blessed with four amazing children and 7 equally fantastic grandchildren. My second loves are equally dear to my heart, the practice of veterinary medicine and bass fishing. I was 40 years old the first time I ever spent a day bass fishing. I did fish when time allowed but mostly for table fare. When I was 40 a friend talked me into fishing a tournament and I was instantly hooked. Fishing with a time limit and a prize really changed the past time into a sport for me and my competitive nature took hold.

My schooling, young family and building of my veterinary practice took all of my time which is why I was a late entry into bass tournament fishing. My wife has always been supportive of this passion of mine. She actually has always said that when I am away from home the time away is meaningless because we have the rest of lives together.

For me the practice of veterinary medicine is the absolute best job in the world. No two days are ever the same. Every day presents new challenges and opportunities to learn new techniques and treatments. My practice is a family business. My father was the founder of Downers Grove Animal Hospital (Click here), he was a great man. What makes someone great is how others remember you after you are gone and he touched many people in his life. Now my sons, Max and Graham, are my partners and will take the practice to the century mark. Because we are a family owned and operated business it is our reputation, personal integrity and honesty on the line every day. We are dedicated to the pets we treat and the families that trust us to do so.

At our practice we have created a friendly informal but always professional atmosphere. There are always new advances in medications, diagnostics, treatments, surgeries, equipment and technologies. For us this equates to constant daily investment of our time for research and the development of excellence in the mastering of specific techniques. Unlike human medicine we need to develop excellence in all realms of medicine (internal medicine, infectious disease, dermatology, ophthalmology, cardiology, soft tissue surgery, orthopedics,etc). There are specialists available for all these areas but not all clients are in a position to be able to use their services. We do refer numerous cases but we also need to be prepared in many different areas of medicine. If you have any questions that relate to pet care, feel free to email me by clicking here.

My most amazing accomplishment in tournament fishing was qualifying to fish the inaugural and second seasons of the Bassmaster Elite Series. For a number of years I fished one or two Bassmaster open events each year. This was at the time when there was no off-limits for practice and two pros were paired together each day and fished against each other sharing time on the trolling motor. This was a crazy format because everyone wanted to use their own boat. The two pros had to agree on whose boat to use or flip a coin. It often was decided by who was the better liar, .I am on 'em. ruled.

I was really doing this to learn from people with more experience than me. I was once paired against KVD fishing at Tablerock. He was in good standing, it was the last day of the event and he was doing his KVD fast fishing thing with a crankbait but it was not happening at all for hours. I suggested several times that if he knew the fish were there maybe we should slow down and try to catch them. Finally he listened to me and we caught some fish on Carolina rigs in a few minutes but that was all he could stand of that slow fishing. Go figure.

After 5 or more years of that I decided to fish an entire circuit and I finished in 16th place, one spot from qualifying for the top 100 series. I thought it was fluke so I fished an entire circuit the next year and ended up with a letter from ESPN inviting me to compete in the Elite Series. It turned out to be the most amazing two years of my life however I did not perform well. I think that I did not handle the pressure of the extreme expense and how much was riding on every single bite. It never would have happened without the support of my family and the companies that sponsored me. I am forever indebted to all of those companies (Click here).