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Guilderland Archives The Altamont Enterprise, July 30, 2009
Continuing an 87-year-old practice,
By Anne Hayden
GUILDERLAND Veterinarian Virginia Jarvis is delighted to be able to continue what she calls a “small, friendly, and honest practice.” She bought the Albany County Animal Hospital, on Western Avenue, in August 2006, and took over the practice from Doctor Donald Dries, who recently retired.
The building, at 1506 Western Ave. across from Stuyvesant Plaza, has been a veterinary practice since 1922. Dries owned the clinic for over 30 years. When Jarvis, who worked up the road as an associate at the Guilderland Animal Hospital from 1993 to 2006, heard that Dries was thinking of retiring, she decided to buy his practice.
“It sounded like a wonderful opportunity, to take over a hospital that already had a good reputation,” said Jarvis. She liked the idea of owning a small business where pet owners would find it easy to see her, and where she could develop a relationship with them and their animals.
Jarvis, who graduated from Cornell University with both her undergraduate and veterinary degrees, said of being a vet, “I didn’t choose it; it chose me.” She wrote an essay about wanting to be a vet when she was in first grade, and said she never wavered.
When Jarvis took over the business, the practice was already certified by the American Hospital Association, something she said was rare for such a small business with one owner, because it takes a lot of work and effort to meet all of the AHA standards. Jarvis made upgrades to the building and is now also AHA certified. The hospital is a general practice for small mammals and reptiles.
The facility used to be a carriage house and barn for a much larger house that has since been torn down. It now boasts a new reception area, pharmacy, multiple exam rooms, surgery and prep rooms, a recovery area, and a kennel specifically for boarders. Jarvis also had the grassy area in back fenced in for a play area for dogs.
Jarvis said that when they were in the midst of renovating the barn, they found relics from the earliest years of the practice in between the walls. The reception area is decorated with some of the fascinating finds, including a newspaper from the 1920s, addressed to Doctor John Wurmeth, who founded the practice.
“I’m absolutely glad I made the decision to buy my own practice,” said Jarvis. “I can do what I feel is best in all situations, and nurture the type of environment I have always wanted.” She said that, since she started working there in 2006, clients of Dries have been extremely patient with the transition, and she considers many of the clients friends by now.
Danielle Pokorny, DVM, recently joined the practice, after she graduated from Kansas and then completed an internship at a specialty clinic in New Jersey. Jarvis explained that she didn’t want to be a sole practitioner, so she hired Pokorny as an associate, and Dries, who worked part-time until 2008, still performs surgery there once a week.
“I need 10 clones to get to everything I need to do. But I love it,” said Jarvis.