When it comes to emergency veterinary care, location means a lot.
That’s why Dr. Paula Ospina located her practice, Urgent Veterinary Care, in the city of Auburn.
Opening next week, the practice gives not only local residents somewhere nearby to bring their pets in times of emergency, but also residents as far as Rochester, Syracuse and Ithaca, Ospina said.
“There’s an opportunity here,” she told The Citizen in December. “When I was looking at the map, thinking where it would make sense to open, Auburn is in the middle of everything.”
Urgent Veterinary Care is the first practice for Ospina, who completed her Ph.D. in animal science at Cornell University in 2012. Prior to that, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in animal science from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Cornell in 2003 and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of California , Davis, in 2007.
Ospina grew up in the Golden State, having come to the US from Colombia when she was 7. Her native city of Cali, known for having one of the most diverse collections of bird species in the world, is where she decided she wanted to work with animals for a living. Ospina credits her mother, an elementary school teacher in Colombia, with inspiring her to pursue her education.
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While completing her Ph.D., Ospina worked two jobs. As an epidemiologist with Cornell’s Quality Milk Production Services, she provided bilingual education to farm workers from countries like Guatemala and Mexico, and trained them to ensure milk quality through proper sanitation and disease prevention. She also worked part-time at an emergency veterinary center in Baldwinsville. But after the passing of her mother-in-law, and then the COVID-19 pandemic, she began working at the center on nights and weekends in order to be with her three children at home during the day.
If you go
WHAT: Urgent Veterinary Care
WHEN: Open 6 pm to midnight Mondays through Thursdays and 6 pm Fridays through 6 am Mondays
WHERE: 207 Genesee St., Auburn
INFO: Visit urgentcare.vet or email email@example.com
As its owner prepared to retire, Ospina tried to take the reins of the center. The deal fell through due to a real estate issue, but by then she was committed to the idea of opening her own practice.
At first, she didn’t consider opening it in Auburn. A resident of King Ferry, she comes to the city regularly, but she had yet to realize its geographic potential. Then, after purchasing and renovating the five-bedroom home at 207 Genesee St. with her husband, Brian Stratton, Ospina knew she picked the right place. From neighbors to city officials, the support has been “remarkable,” she said.
“It turned out to be a really good, supportive environment to work in,” she said. “I’m excited to be of service to this community.”
Urgent Veterinary Care opens as practices continue to catch up with COVID-19, Ospina said. Many were closed for months even though pet adoptions climbed while people were homebound.
Her practice will help close that gap by providing care for smaller health concerns, such as ear infections. Bigger concerns, such as those that require surgery, will be stabilized and referred to more critical care practices like Cornell’s Hospital for Animals. Digital records will make that process easier, Ospina said, and give pet owners more access to their health information as well.
Ospina’s own surgery and isolation suites will be completed at a later date, she said. Likewise, the practice will begin with hours of 6 pm to midnight weekdays and 6 pm to 6 am weekends. As her staff grows to about 10, Ospina hopes to expand to overnight hours every day, giving pet owners in Auburn and beyond a place to go for emergencies whenever, and wherever, they occur.
“Eventually, we want to be open whenever your vet is not,” she said. “We want to be the neighborhood urgent care practice.”
Lake Life Editor David Wilcox can be reached at (315) 282-2245 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @drwilcox.
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