Pasadena is home to more than just human residents – it’s a place where families include dogs, cats, rabbits, reptiles, birds and pocket pets. When those pets need care, their owners know they don’t have to travel far from home when they can visit the compassionate staff at Calvert Veterinary Center, now celebrating its 15th year in practice.
Back in 2003, owner and founder Dr. Christine Calvert saw a need for additional veterinary care in her hometown of Pasadena. With this realization came the interest in opening her own practice.
“My vision was to create a veterinary hospital that would provide high-quality care for patients of all types in a convenient location close to the Pasadena peninsula,” she explained.
Even though the need was there, and Calvert had the experience and knowledge she needed to make her practice a success, opening Calvert Veterinary Center wasn’t easy. “As with any dream, there are always challenges and obstacles to achieving your goals,” Calvert recalled. “The first hurdle was to secure financing, which can be tricky for a first-time business owner, but the team at the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation was very instrumental in walking me through the process of obtaining a loan.”
Because Calvert was starting her practice from scratch and didn’t have an existing client base, it was a risk for her to take on the necessary debt to build out and equip a full-service veterinary hospital. But the exceptional client service and client education she established in the first few years of business resonated with Pasadena’s pet owners, and Calvert Veterinary Center saw rapid growth.
In the early days, Calvert was the only doctor. She worked six days a week, covering appointments in the early morning through the late evening and even on Saturdays.
Within a few months, Dr. Karen Van Kirk stopped in to introduce herself and ask whether Calvert Veterinary Center was hiring. “By this time, I was very grateful to have any help, so she started working one day a week at the practice so I could have at least one day off,” Calvert said.
As the number of patients grew, Calvert began bringing on more doctors. By 2010, it was clear the practice had outgrown its current space, and Calvert started looking for a new home. “There were many challenges with finding a suitable building in the area with the proper zoning, proper amount of space and good location,” Calvert said. “I was fortunate to find a building right across the street from our original location, and in November of 2012, we moved into our current location at 4100 Mountain Road.”
Today, Calvert Veterinary Center has five doctors and will be adding a sixth in June 2019, allowing the office to serve even more patients. “The most rewarding part of the practice and its growth are the many relationships I have made with my clients and their pets, as well as my support staff,” Calvert said. “I have seen some clients through two to three generations of pets. You really get to know someone when you are helping them care for their four-legged family member, especially in times of emergency care or an end-of-life decision. It is extremely gratifying to know that I helped someone have a long, healthy companionship with their best friend.”
Another rewarding aspect of her practice has been working with compassionate veterinary assistants and veterinary receptionists. Three members of the Calvert Veterinary Center support staff have gone on to graduate from veterinary school and become veterinarians, and two prior employees have moved on to become “human” nurses. “Being able to mentor my team of coworkers and see them succeed in caring for our patients, as well as expanding their horizons to be more in their chosen career path, has been phenomenal,” Calvert said.
As she looks to the future, Calvert plans to continue offering compassionate, exceptional care for all pets while expanding the practice’s ability to care for more exotic patients with the addition of its sixth doctor. Additionally, Calvert Veterinary Center will add an online pharmacy to offer home delivery options for medications and food to improve convenience for its clients, all while continuing to support community groups and nurturing its partnership with the Senior Dog Sanctuary.
For more information on Calvert Veterinary Center, visit www.calvertvet.com or call 410-360-7297. “We are very fortunate to have the support of Pasadena over the past 15 years,” Calvert said, “and we look forward to continuing to serve this great community of pets and people for many more years to come.”