Written By: Brian Miller, Receptionist and Social Media Specialist, Liverpool Animal Health Center
Another unique group of patients we treat at Liverpool Animal Health Center are government agency dogs. The New York State Police, United States Border Patrol and the City of Oswego bring some of their K9 officers in to be treated by our doctors. This relationship was not designated by the agencies themselves, but rather, by the individual handlers. According to Dr. David Clegg, the first K9 officer we treated was owned by a trooper whose other dog was already a patient with us. The doctors were immediately impressed by the bond shared between the partners. This particular K9 officer eventually needed to have his spleen removed, and his handler was very happy with the end result. Through him, word began to spread about our practice, and we began to see more of these four-legged officers. Dr. Clegg says that “Each handler we see here is great. They love their dogs and will do whatever they can to follow our recommendations.”
One of the officers who began bringing his animals to LAHC was New York State Trooper Jeff Cicora who has been stationed in Central New York for over 20 years, and was chosen to become a K9 handler in 2001. He and his wife began coming to our practice in 2005. At the time, they owned a cocker spaniel, and Officer Cicora’s partner, “Devitt.” Sgt. Cicora says that they had tried other local offices, but “When we finally tried LAHC we were pleasantly surprised at the friendly service provided by the staff and doctors. If it was really busy, the awesome receptionists (Patti, Robbi, and Brian) would find a way to fit us in. They went above and beyond to help us with our veterinary needs. When we got in to see the doctors we were treated with respect and given medical information in a way that we could easily understand. In all the years that I have been going to LAHC with my K9 partners, I have never questioned their ability to give my dogs the very best care available!”
When it came to Devitt, as well as treating Sgt. Cicora’s next partner “McGinn” and all of the other officers that came through our doors, Dr. Clegg states that the doctors have to be aware that the animals are working dogs and need to be able to perform their job. “They are no different than a service dog for someone who is deaf or blind. Being able to work is part of their life, and we need to acknowledge that the dog cannot simply stay home and lay on the couch for two weeks.” This type of care was not lost on Sgt. Cicora. “We were always treated like family and if Devitt or McGinn ever had a medical problem the staff and doctors at LAHC took immediate action and treated the problem,” says Cicora. “We certainly didn’t request or demand special treatment but the doctors always seemed to take a special interest in us. They seemed to know the importance of the job and duties that we performed on a daily basis and did everything they could to make Devitt and McGinn comfortable and get them back into service as soon as possible.” He goes on to say, “Our K9 partners’ health is very important and you should always feel comfortable in knowing that your dog is getting the best treatment available. You should be able to trust your vet just as much as you trust your dog. Police work is inherently dangerous and you must be able to trust that your vet is trained and prepared for the worst case scenario if your dog goes down.” Sgt. Cicora finishes with a statement that is not only a wonderful compliment, but succinctly summarizes the feelings we yearn for all of our clients to have. “We have found ourselves in the office quite frequently over the years for a myriad of reasons and built a great rapport with the staff and doctors. If I ever had leave either of my partners, I knew they would be well taken care. I trusted that the doctors and animal caretakers would protect them like I protected them. I never had any reservation about their care. I am proud to say that I consider the staff at LAHC to be a part of our family.”
At Liverpool Animal Health Center, we not only strive to exceed our client’s expectations, but to set ourselves apart from our many competitors. By defying convention and providing some of the aforementioned services that others do not, we continue to prove why our hospital is the premiere destination for animal care in Central New York.