Award of Merit for Prescott veterinarian


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The Ontario Veterinary Medical Association announced this week that Dr. John Donovan of Prescott Animal Hospital/Rideau-St. Lawrence Veterinary Services received the 2022 Award of Merit. Photo by HOLLY MCFARLANE PHOTOGRAPHY /jpg, Bt

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A local vet was recognized by the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA).

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dr John Donovan was announced earlier this week as a recipient of the Merit Award for his many years of work in the field, educating young veterinary students and expanding the practice throughout eastern Ontario.

“I’m honored and really appreciate that my co-workers, colleagues and customers think so highly of me,” Donovan said by phone Thursday.

Donovan is a partner at Prescott Animal Hospital/Rideau-St. Lawrence Veterinary Services, a large animal mobile company. The organization, which merged with Prescott Animal Hospital in 2009, also oversees large and small animal hospitals in North Grenville, Williamstown and Navan.

Release of OVMA notes Donovan has propelled the company to widespread growth, and his colleagues attribute “his forward-thinking and focus on the sustainability of the company to the company’s success.”

A colleague of Donovan, Dr. Alexandra Knoepfli said in the press release that Donovan “continuously pushes and influences his veterinarians and staff to practice advanced medicine.”

“Dr. Donovan is a big reason our practices have earned a reputation as desirable locations for education and employment,” said Knoepfli. “He has always done what he could for his clients, the animals, his staff and his community.”

Donovan was alerted last November that he would be secretly receiving the award. While Donovan was in Kitchener for a hockey tournament his daughters were playing, Rideau-St. Lawrence threw a Christmas party for employees.

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As he usually does, Donovan conveyed some well wishes to the staff, practically over Zoom. However, as he spoke, the next thing Donovan knew he was attending a larger virtual Zoom conference with the OVMA and he was being presented with the award.

“I had absolutely no idea. It was surreal,” Donovan said upon receiving the award.

In addition to the uniqueness with which he was presented with the award, Donovan said two things added to his sense of pride at the award. The group of award winners, including the 23-year-old former OVMA CEO, made the start this year.

The second was that it came during the COVID-19 pandemic, which put additional strain on local business.

“The pandemic has been an absolute challenge for all of us in all areas of small business,” said Donovan.

The battle for veterinary clinics was a business “explosion at the seams.”

A 30 percent increase in the province’s pet population, coupled with pet owners being home more often to monitor possible illnesses, has left businesses with a greatly increased workload while implementing COVID-19 safety measures such as curbside service administer.

“Our staff and culture across all of our practices have focused on truly engaging the client and the animal and making the experience as positive as possible,” Donovan said.

“Doing this outside in -20C in a roadside environment has been really stressful for our staff because they don’t feel like they are providing the full service that they know they can.”

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Since Donovan began his career at Prescott Animal Hospital after graduating in 1995, he and his colleagues have become known for their work with veterinary students.

“It has come back to benefit us to the greatest extent,” Donovan said. “Over 50 percent of our employees here in our clinic group have been trained at one of our facilities at some point.”

According to the press release, Donovan has trained more than 100 veterinary interns and more than 70 high school, veterinary technician and international veterinary students.

“We love watching them thrive as they progress from junior, technical or veterinary or administrative roles and into integral players in the growth of our businesses,” added Donovan.

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