Raeford Animal Hospital opens under new owners

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • There isn’t a convenient “add to cart” option on Amazon to buy everything needed to equip a veterinary hospital when starting from scratch, but Dr. Caroline Lea Tyndall and her husband, practice manager Jared Tyndall, have made it work.

For the past six months, the new owners of Raeford Animal Hospital have been busy gathering the necessities: diagnostic equipment, supplies and most importantly, a veterinarian and staff to tend to Hoke County’s pets.

All their hard work paid off this week as Raeford Animal Hospital opened its doors for the first time under its new ownership.

It’s been nearly a year since the vet practice founded by retired Dr. Russell Tate Sr. had to shut down after struggling to keep a full-time veterinarian on staff. The Tyndalls – friends of the Tate family – saw an opportunity to bring the business back. The couple already own the West Pine Veterinary Hospital in West End, and saw how far Raeford pet owners were having to drive to get vet care for their companion animals.

It’s been a months-long process to get the building on U.S. 401 Bypass ready to function as animal hospital again.

“The building was basically stripped so it was all about getting everything restocked, both from an equipment standpoint and a product standpoint, as well as an employee standpoint,” Tyndall said. “The biggest issue Is, honestly, we’re having the same supply chain issues everyone else is, so you order things and then it takes forever to get here. But things have been trickling in.”

“There’s not really a service that comes in and puts together your veterinary hospital, so it’s all about getting the equipment put together, getting the radiology equipment installed, the laboratory equipment installed, making sure that’s running appropriately. It’s just been a step-by-step process,” he said.

Thanks to all the prep work, the veterinary practice was ready to hit the ground running this week. The vet hospital underwent its inspection last week and had already booked appointments for its first day, Monday.

There’s a new veterinarian in town who’ll be getting to know the cats and dogs at the animal hospital: Dr. Leah Tucker, a friend of Dr. Tyndall’s from vet school who will serve as the primary veterinarian at the animal hospital. Dr. Tyndall herself will also be at the practice one day a week. Tucker hails from Jacksonville and has been doing veterinary general practice since completing vet school, along with working at an emergency clinic.

“(Tucker) has tons of experience and is kind of willing to take on just about everything,” Tyndall said. “There will be things that are few and far between that we’re not able to handle in house, we hope to be able to do almost anything in some way, shape or form.”

There will be some returning familiar faces among the staff, too, as well as new ones.

“We’ve got a good experienced staff, lots of years of experience. An RVT (registered veterinary technician) who actually lives in Raeford and worked here for a long time,” Tyndall said.

It was clear even as the practice began preparing to open that the need for a local vet is present in Hoke County.

“We’ve been taking phone calls and many of the phone calls we’ve had have been former clients of Raeford Animal Clinic,” Tyndall said.

The practice is welcoming clients, both returning ones who previously brought their pets to Raeford Animal Clinic, and newcomers who will trust their pets’ care to Raeford Animal Hospital.

“It’s very much call us when you need us,” Tyndall said. “We prefer appointments obviously so we can track the schedule, but even on busy days, if your pets are sick, call and we’ll try to work you in any way we can. We know demand is going to be high. We’re anxious to get started helping out all the pets around that have been having to travel a little bit further than they wanted to.”

The animal hospital will offer the usual types of care most vet practices provide: wellness and preventative care, vaccinations, visits for sick or injured pets and more. The practice currently doesn’t have a groomer on staff, but can do basic baths and nail trimming, and has some space dedicated to boarding pets.

Raeford Animal Hospital also has equipment to do on-site bloodwork, urinalysis, skin testing and full sets of radiographs. The practice also has access to a laboratory for more specialized testing when needed.

Anyone interested in having Raeford Animal Hospital care for their pets can make an appointment by calling (910) 479-3346.

“We’re just really excited to be here,” Tyndall said. “…We’re ready to serve the community and hope that everyone comes in and feels like that we’re part of their family, because that’s what we want to be, a family environment for everyone.”

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