Brookside Veterinary opens in Arkville

By Pauline Liu
After months of delays, a new veterinary facility has opened in Arkville. Brookside Veterinary Hospital officially opened its doors last Wednesday at 42981 state Highway 28.
According to owner and veterinarian, Dr. Laraine Caliri, portions of the facility remain under construction, but completion is just weeks away.

“The plan is to be full-service in less than a month,” she said.
Dr. Caliri hopes to begin performing surgeries in the next week or two. Other services include emergency room, hospitalization, acupuncture, boarding and grooming.

Welcoming patients
Since the facility opened, Dr. Caliri and her three-member staff have found themselves very busy serving four-legged patients and their owners. The reviews have been great.

“She’s awesome and I’m really glad that she’s in town,” said Laura Seltz of Margaretville, as she and her two-year-old chocolate lab, Callahan, were  leaving after a successful check-up. 

“She was very gentle with my dog and she answered all of my questions,” said Cassandra Piedra of Margaretville, who brought her very friendly two-year-old Shiba Inu, Yukiko, for a check-up. “I would definitely recommend her,” added Piedra. 

Meanwhile, Pat Maxim of Fleischmanns and her son, Bob, brought her nine-year-old cocker spaniel-chow mix, Libby, for treatment of an ear infection. Maxim knew she had come to the right place.
“Libby likes her,” she said knowingly.  “I’ve heard good things about this place,” explained Bob. “It’s good that it’s local, especially in case of an emergency,” he added.

Dr. Caliri arrived in Arkville by way of the Hurley Veterinary Hospital, where she has worked for 10 years. She became aware of how badly this area needed a veterinary hospital. 

“We had a lot of people coming from here to Hurley saying how desperately they needed a vet,” said Dr. Caliri.

Dr. Caliri has been working to fulfill what her staff describes as “her vision” of moving to Arkville for the past year. Her desire to find a spacious location for her animal hospital, led her to the 4,600-square-foot former Arizona Restaurant building, which she is leasing to own.

Storm delays
According to Dr. Caliri, Tropical Storm Irene contributed to the delays in opening of the facility.
“It should have been open by September 1, but we had the flood and then after the flood we actually had a hard time finding contractors,” she said.

Dr. Caliri explained that the support and understanding of her partner, Kim Coppage, helped to make her new animal hospital a reality.  Coppage is an emergency room nurse at Kingston Hospital. In order to live closer to the new facility, the couple moved from High Falls to Big Indian.

“I have a partner, who is understanding and was willing to move our home,” she said. 

Dr. Caliri grew up in Canton, MA and graduated from Ross University. According to her bio, she was, “that kid who brought home every creature she found wanting to keep it as a pet.”

Her special interests include birds, reptiles and alternative therapies. She currently has a horse, four dogs, three cats, more than 50 birds, including rare chickens, ducks, geese and guinea hens. She treats not only cats and dogs, but also birds, reptiles, pocket pets and rabbits. 

Two of the veterinary assistants have worked with Dr. Caliri for several years. They are Laurel Helmeyer and Amanda Adels. Vikki Peterson is a new member of the staff, but she is a familiar face to local pet owners, who happily shouted, “Vikki’s here!” upon seeing her. Peterson has worked for previous Arkville veterinarians. 

Local experinence
“I worked with Dr. John Fairbairn for 10 years and Dr. Kevin Oppenheimer for four years, and it’s wonderful being back to veterinary work,” said Peterson.

Dr. Caliri and her staff spent several months doing house calls, as they waited for the construction work to get this far. She plans to continue to do occasional house calls for at-home euthanasia or for pet owners who are unable to leave their homes. Right now, she is awaiting the completion of her treatment area, kennels and surgical suites, which should be done in the next few weeks. 
For owners of dogs with anxiety issues or what Dr. Caliri calls, “white coat syndrome,” she suggests that owners bring their dogs in for a visit before the actual appointment.

“Dogs come in here and they don’t know what it’s all about,” she said. “If they can get thrown a cookie by the receptionist, they won’t be so afraid the next time they come in. One of the ways to deal with anxiety is to make sure they know that this place is not a bad place,” she added.

Open six days
Beginning Monday, Feb. 13, the facility will open from Monday through Saturday. Please call 586-6006 for hours of operation or e-mail brooksidedvm @gmail.com. The website is brooksidedvm.com.