They have provided comfort, care, and compassion for our four-legged friends since the last three decades. EastLife was there at the Sommerville Vets Centre to celebrate their 30th anniversary last week.
Dr Patrick Foley clearly remembers the day he first opened the doors to Sommerville Vet Centre thirty years ago.
As a young veterinarian who had decided to open a clinic by simply pulling a pin on the map to find a suitable location, he says he’d heard that the Sommerville-Whitford area was going to have a lot of movement.
He was suitably pleased to discover that there was a Meadowlands Shopping Centre in the vicinity and a McDonald’s (which has moved since).
There must be a good reason why they were in the area, he thought, and ventured out to invest in a three-bedroom house overlooking the paddocks.
Foley was relieved that he had two clients walk in on the very first day, and the Sommerville Vet Clinic has never looked back since.
With five experienced vets, qualified nurses and trained staff, Foley reckons that while there are many vet clinics that have popped up since, their lasting power is due to the implicit trust that the community has in their caring service over the last 30 years.
“People take a leap of faith when they first come to you. Pets are family members, and so there is so much love, comfort and empathy involved. You must be a people’s person to work here. There is a lot of emotion involved when it comes to pets and sometimes it can be tough.
At the same time, we must look at the business aspect to survive and keep going. It’s a good balance,” he says.
One of their loyal clients present at the cake-cutting, anniversary celebration shared a precious memory. Talking about the very difficult time they faced when they had to put their beloved old cat to sleep, she said she didn’t have the heart to do it.
“I told Raewyn who has been with Sommerville Vets for a very long time that I can’t face it, andshe said she would take care of everything. I will always remember that she was so kind to us at a very difficult time. Later that evening she dropped in to visit us with flowers, to see how we were doing.”
The well-equipped purpose-built vet hospital provides consultations throughout the day with a facility that includes several consulting room, radiology and ultrasound dentistry suite, diagnostic services, a dedicated surgery, hospital wards and a retail area.