Its hard to believe twenty-five years ago this week we, Dr. Gary Palmer and Dr. Robin Lewis-Palmer, took over Sault Ste. Marie Animal Clinic! During this time, we have seen a lot of changes both in our professional and personal lives (including two daughters, multiple pets and more than a few grey hairs!) but we are also happy to note many things have stayed the same.
After graduating from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1989 and 1990, we started our veterinary careers in Toronto and while it was a fun and exciting time, we always knew we wanted to be somewhere else long term. In 1992 the perfect opportunity arose when Dr. Larry Simpson, founder of Sault Ste. Marie Animal Clinic, (where Dr. L-P had worked as a high school student!) was looking to slow down and focus on his Mobile Clinic servicing the northern towns of Wawa, White River, Horn Payne and Chapleau. As Dr. L-P’s home town, we knew the city of Sault Ste. Marie offered everything we were looking for – a family friendly community, limitless outdoor activities and a great group of colleagues to work with. We jumped at the chance to venture north.
Over the years we have seen many changes in Veterinary Medicine – probably the most significant being the elevation of pets from ‘just a dog or a cat’ to cherished family members. Just like any other member of the family, people seek and desire high quality, progressive medical care for their pets. We are proud to say we have kept up by offering our clients and patients access to state of the art veterinary care and equipment combined with years of experience and expertise. Some of the services we have added include ultrasound, endoscopy, advanced dental procedures, laparoscopic surgery, rigid endoscopy and orthopedic surgery. We are constantly upgrading our equipment; for example, earlier this year, we added new state of the art lab equipment and a digital x-ray system. Next week we are installing a new computer network! Our roles with in the clinic have evolved as Dr. L-P, after practicing for many years with allergies to dogs and cats, elects to take on more of an administrative role while Dr. P continues with the hands-on work.
We have been fortunate to have the very best clients anywhere – we still have many clients from our early days! We have shared their excitement as they welcomed new puppies and kittens into their homes, provided medical care and advice throughout the pet’s life and then shared their sorrow when it was time to say good bye. Many times, we have been privileged to help them welcome the next generation as life goes on and the cycle repeats. We are on our third generation of dogs ourselves – starting off with Sydney the Australian Shepherd, followed by Piper the Aussiedoodle, and we now have Hudson the Portuguese Water Dog. We have also had multiple cats both as family pets and as clinic cats. Along the way we have treated our own dogs and cats for various forms of cancer, diabetes and ever frustrating allergies so we can relate firsthand to the challenges, occasional sorrows and of course joys of having pets in your life! Over so many years, we have witnessed many monumental events in the lives of our clients and we know how important pets can be when coping with these pivotal changes. We have had the unique pleasure of watching many of our client’s children grow and eventually become clients with pets and families of there own.
As any client of Sault Ste. Marie Animal Clinic knows, we have also been blessed with an exceptional staff – Tara, Kelly and Cindy have been with us for many, many years and we would not have the practice we have today with out them. We truly appreciate their hard work and dedication as well as their extraordinary accumulation of skills and knowledge.
Then of course, there are the patients! Over the years, we have had the privilege of providing medical care and advice to a wonderful assortment of colourful four legged characters! Big or small, hairy or bald, young or old, friendly or frightened, exuberant or fragile, each one has their own unique personality and story. They are our reason for being here and the reason we love what we do.
So, as we celebrate this milestone we would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has trusted us with the care of their pets over the last quarter century and we look forward to many more years of being your ‘other family doctor’!
Dr.’s Gary Palmer and Robin Lewis-Palmer