"I just figured in today's day and age, you know, it's better to laugh about things. So now we just kind of look for the fun. We want to give something that cheers people up."
Editor's note: This article was originally published on October 7, 2021. It has since been updated.
Before Lynn Wimmer purchased the Carroll County Veterinary Clinic in 2005, the establishment's roadside message sign was only ever used to post about upcoming community events or informational messages. However, today it is a familiar and popular landmark for motorists traveling that route thanks to the funny puns and sayings that are posted on it every week. The tradition began a few years ago when Wimmer—who worked as an associate veterinarian at the clinic for several years before buying it—decided to post something humorous out front one day. The overwhelmingly positive feedback that followed convinced Wimmer to make it a weekly practice that tickles all those who pass by the Westminster, Maryland, clinic.
"I just figured in today's day and age, you know, it's better to laugh about things," Wimmer told Carroll County Times. "So now we just kind of look for the fun. We want to give something that cheers people up." Because Wimmer has her hands full as the lead vet at the clinic, the role of sign updater was taken over by vet technician Beki Carlyle who—with a little help from daughter Reilley—tries to post a different funny message on the sign every Sunday.
Carlyle revealed that her first attempt at sign humor was several years ago when she posted: "It's all fun and games until someone ends up in a cone." Things ramped up from there. "Now we have people that aren't even clients that send us cards," she said. "It's amazing, and it's so awesome that people can laugh and smile ― especially right now. People are saying that they drive out of their way just to see the signs." Carlyle explained that she keeps a list of puns and jokes on her phone and that she also takes inspiration from the suggestions sent in by fans of the road sign.
"It shows that we have a personality, and it shows that we're not wrapped real tight. We try not to offend anybody... we try to take everybody's feelings into consideration... It's crazy how quickly it blew up, and how much everybody loves it," Carlyle said. "It just makes me so happy. The fact that people love it so much is just awesome."
Here are 25 of our favorite signs from the Carroll County Veterinary Clinic: