Lessons from a favorite client

Thanks to one of our favorite clients at Aston Veterinary Hospital, I had the opportunity last week to visit a special food pantry, where patron’s pets get fed, too.


Loaves & Fishes Food
Loaves & Fishes Traditional “People” Food

Loaves and Fishes serves close to 15,000 low- and no-income individuals each year and has been doing so since 2001. It’s all-volunteer run, but it’s led by the pure will of its executive director, Linda Freeman. Linda and her team serve up boxes of food that cover five days of meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Just over a year ago our client, Jo-Ann Zoll, approached Linda and a bunch of her colleagues who run food pantries in Delaware County, Pa. Jo-Ann, in her roll as a volunteer at a local animal shelter, saw families dropping off pets because they couldn’t afford food. This drove her to try and formalize a pilot  project of pet food delivery, using the food pantry as a point of distribution.

Only a few groups said they were interested in helping pets — some felt it was too controversial. But Linda didn’t blink.

Jo-Ann Zoll & Linda Freeman
Jo-Ann Zoll & Linda Freeman

“We were very well aware our clients were taking the food we gave them for themselves and giving it to their pets,” she said.

So Jo-Ann started hauling bags of dry and canned food to the pantry, which is headquartered inside Prospect Hill Baptist Church in Prospect Park, Pa. Volunteers at the pantry break down the food into smaller bags, which are distributed to individuals each month. Today nearly 200 cats and 150 dogs get their food from Loaves and Fishes each month. Jo-Ann wishes it were higher, and she’s working on raising more money to support the cause.

Aston Veterinary Hospital is supporting Loaves and Fishes through a collection can at our front desk. The hospital is also working with its distributors to secure donated food as well.

– Michael

Dr. Bob Takes on Alzheimer’s Again…

Last weekend, Dr. Bob Sarsfield, our business partner and the medical director of the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County, held his annual golf tournament to raise funds and awareness around Alzheimer’s Disease. It was the biggest turnout yet — 120 participants and 20 volunteers. This year Dr. Bob raised $39,000, which brings the 15-year total to more than $350,000.

Dr. Sarsfield and Marc Nathan at the Annual Sarsfield Golf Tournament

The event is held at Hershey Links, and it was a perfect day for a round of golf. Dr. Jim Kepner also participated, as he’s done for several years.

Dr. Bob started the event after the death of his father Robert Sarsfield, Sr. His entire family takes part in the planning. Proceeds benefit the Greater Pennsylvania chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Here’s the link to last year’s event.

Why we Support PAWS’ Great Chef Dinner

This is the second year that we are sponsoring the Chef Dinner for PAWS, with proceeds going to the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society.

PAWS is a great organization. It is the city’s largest rescue organization and only no-kill shelter. Not only does it do amazing things to support our cat and dog friends, it also promotes a positive message for the community.

Last year PAWS raised more than $200,000 at the dinner.

Here’s a video with some of the highlights. There’s a quick shot of Danny around three minutes in.

Community Days at the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County

The staff at the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County pride themselves on the special bond they have with the community. They volunteer aggressively and work hard to support local groups that share our goals. One thing that makes it easier is a special benefit that gives every member of the staff one extra paid day off each year to volunteer for a charity of his or her choosing. Continue reading…

Aston Veterinary Hospital: Welcome to the Family

One of the best parts of partnering with new veterinary hospitals is the time we get to spend getting to know the staff — and specifically working hand-in-hand at jobs throughout the hospital. Earlier this week I had a chance to learn the ropes at the front desk of the Aston Veterinary Hospital. My mentors (in the picture above) were a mix of long-time hospital leadership (Karen Moyer and Lori Schnell) and new arrivals (Laura Dennon). Thanks for your help! Continue reading…

Dr. Bob’s New Patient

Our team at the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County has fans of the Hersey Bears for years. Several members of the staff are team junkies and have season tickets. Some  players bring their pets to us for care. Continue reading…

Our advisor named vet of the year

We’re huge fans of Dr. Karen Rosenthal, one of our veterinary advisors and a good friend as well. We’ve always considered her one of the most caring and competent vets around. Now there’s an official stamp on that opinion. Late this summer Dr. Rosenthal was named the Exotic DVM of the Year by the Association of Avian Veterinarians. Read the full story here. Congratulations, Dr. Rosenthal! Continue reading…

Karissa’s Sustainable Wildlife Habitat

My neighbor has big ambitions. Ivy league college. Successful business career. Designing and building a National Wildlife Habitat. And she is only 15. Karissa Wenk is a Baldwin High School student and one of Izzy’s (my four-year old Portuguese Water Dog) favorite people. Well, the truth is that Karissa’s Golden Retriever, Holly, is Izzy’s closest friend. Continue reading…

Good news from the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County

There’s been a bunch of good news coming out of the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County recently.

Two stories have a similar theme: one-eyed cats. First, there’s the black kitten named Melissa that came into our hospital with a severe head trauma — damaged right eye and a broken skull. Dr. Jim Kepner did amazing work here. Continue reading…

A Web Site for the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County

We made our first investment earlier this year in the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County, a five-doctor practice located in Harrisburg, Pa. Since then we’ve been working hard to optimize the business operations. We took over the back-office headaches from Dr. Jim Kepner — the bill paying, the payroll, the HR management and more — and have been looking for ways to improve the marketing of the hospital. Continue reading…