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Small Animal Hospital Creates a Big Splash Just East of the River

SmallAnimal.jpg by Vince Bushell

I stopped in at the new Small Animal Hospital on Newhall, just north of North Avenue, to ask a question about one of my cats. I was immediately impressed. Inside and out, this is a state-of-the-art facility designed to give the best medical attention to our furry friends while comfortably accommodating their owners. The building has a large reception area with big windows. The bench seats flip up and hold books and toys for kids waiting for Sparky to get his shots. Barbara Clingman, practice manager, was as anxious to share the history of the veterinarian clinic as she was to celebrate its new digs on Newhall. According to Clingman the clinic, which resided for years on Farwell Avenue south of North Avenue, dates back to horse and buggy days when it was located in a carriage house near Brady Street. There the doctors took care of the horses that hauled the streetcars around town before electrification of the system. One of the doctors decided to open up a clinic there to treat, instead of horses, “small animals,” thus the name. There are plans to have a historical display from the old days, complete with an anesthesia mask once used for horses. The chief practitioners and business owners are Dr. Diane Bennetts and Dr. Pam Geiken. This new clinic represents years of planning and dreaming for the pair. Dr. Bennetts, who wanted to be a vet since she was a small child, has been at the clinic for over 23 years. She has two cats. Bennetts says the clinic, besides serving the needs of cats and dogs, also specializes in caring for exotic pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, and the occasional mouse. They are not set up for snakes or other reptiles. The clinic is spacious with a large surgery and multiple examination rooms. Their visiting ultrasound, endoscopies and echocardiography specialist claims it is the nicest veterinarian clinic in Milwaukee. Dr. Geiken has been with the clinic for 16 years and dates her interest in veterinary work to high school. She has a dog, two cats, two rats, and four fish. Both Dr. Geiken and Dr. Bennetts state that their elected officials, Ald. Mike D’Amato and Sup. Gerry Broderick, as well as government agencies, have been extremely helpful in the process of turning this site, a former brownfield, into their clinic. East North Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) Director Jim Plaisted found the location for them and thus kept them and their jobs in the BID. City, county, and state agencies worked to provide funding for remediation of the site, which housed the former Milwaukee Waste Paper Company. The Small Animal Hospital is located at 2340 N. Newhall St. Their phone number is 414/276-0701. Hours are 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and until 5 p.m. on Tuesday and Friday. They are open from 9 a.m. til Noon on Saturday. Stop in and check it out. There will be a grand opening — best guess: sometime in February 2004 — but they’re already up and running.
by Vince Bushell