Cedar Brook Animal Hospital Veterinarian Norman Haber Honored

WINSLOW – A line of regular traffic slowly descending a country road from a local park slowed even more as it approached Cedar Brook Veterinary Hospital.

The traffic turned out to be a procession of dozens of vehicles carrying well-wishers who began honking, flashing lights, waving, shouting and displaying signs of thanks and congratulations during a surprise farewell to the veterinarian Norman Haber in the Sicklerville section of Winslow.

A stunned Haber was on the lawn before waving to them after his last day of work on New Year’s Eve as chief veterinarian at Cedar Brook Animal Hospital, ending 31 years of service at the pet hospital which he founded. He had retired a few minutes before the unexpected greeting and after seeing his last patient around noon and walking outside.

“I’m in shock…” the upset doctor said of the visible outpouring of appreciation from the police-organized and escorted cavalcade of cars and trucks carrying pet owners who were customers, friends, animal control workers, police and other first responders. .

A thanksgiving procession was held outside Cedar Brook Animal Hospital in Sicklerville, Friday, December 31, 2021, for retired veterinarian Dr. Norman Haber, on his last day on the job after more than 30 years of service.

“I saw that balloons had been set up outside and I thought my staff were preparing a small departure to say goodbye, but I didn’t expect anything like that. I really appreciate this what they did for me.”

Some pet-owning customers parked on the shoulder of Cedarbrook Road so they could personally greet Haber; a few tears fell as they talked and even hugged their beloved vet.

Haber goes above and beyond pet care, according to its clients, even making house calls for dogs and cats that don’t like to be taken out of their home environment or that may be too sick for their owners. handle and transport them.

Retired veterinarian Dr Norman Haber is accompanied by his wife Janice Haber, left, as they greet well-wishers who took part in a procession of thanks outside Cedar Brook Veterinary Hospital in Sicklerville on Friday December 31, 2021, which was Dr. Haber's last day of work after more than 30 years of work.

“He’s one of a kind…and it’s such an honor for me to have been his last date,” said Williamstown’s Stephanie Piwowarski, a 10-year-old client who brought in her boxer Cain for treatment.

“My whole family comes here with their pets,” she added.

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Customer Gail Francis from nearby Shamong was in the motorcade and was one of the drivers who then pulled over and stopped to thank Haber.

She took her pets to him before she opened Cedar Brook Hospital.

“He never said ‘no’ to anyone. That’s why he was so loved,” said Francis, who has two dogs and three cats she brings to Cedarbrook, including an abused dog she adopted .

“I was crying when I left my last date the other day,” a feeling Francis said again after greeting Haber.

Retired veterinarian Dr. Norman Haber receives a card from a well-wisher who participated in a procession of thanks outside Cedar Brook Veterinary Hospital in Sicklerville on Friday, December 31, 2021, which was Dr. Haber's last day of work after more than 30 years of work.

Haber, 69, stayed longer than expected, due to his love of working with animals and a pandemic spike in pet ownership that led to increased demand for veterinary services.

When client Jean Watson spoke outside with the doctor at the retirement event, he told her that the other two vets – full-time Dr. Jim Hegeman and Dr. Gwyn Retkowski, who works at Haber in part-time for 29 years – would continue to staff the now company-owned hospital.

“He’s a fantastic guy who is always willing to go the extra mile for his patients. We’re sad to see him go and we’ll miss him, but we’re glad he can travel and spend more time with his family.” , says Retkowski.

The procession was primarily coordinated by Brittany Hinkie, the veterinary hospital’s chief veterinary technician, with help from other staff.

A canine patient looks out from a car that was part of a thank you procession held outside Cedar Brook Veterinary Hospital in Sicklerville, Friday, Dec. 31, 2021, for retired veterinarian Dr. Norman Haber during on his last day of work after more than 30 years of work.

“He’s a phenomenal person. He’s selfless and has always been for animals and pet owners and not just his fees, so I wanted to give him the goodbye he deserves,” Hinkie said.

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Winslow’s longtime clients Tina Briglia and cosmetic surgeon Dr. Louis Perri more than agree with Hinkie.

“He was so cheap and gave you really good care. It wasn’t about the money with him and his care was 10 times what it cost,” Perri explained.

Cedar Brook Hospital has been caring for K-9 police dogs in Winslow, Monroe Township and Hammonton for some time.

Retired veterinarian Dr Norman Haber is accompanied by his wife Janice Haber, left, as he greets well-wishers who took part in a procession of thanks outside Cedar Brook Veterinary Hospital in Sicklerville on Friday December 31, 2021, which was Dr. Haber's last day of work after more than 30 years of work.

Winslow Police Department Capt. Chris Dubler said Haber has also helped treat injured and stray animals the police department has brought to the animal hospital over the years.

At Winslow, the now-retired vet coached football and Little League and also volunteered his time at rabies clinics in Winslow and Chesilhurst.

An avid cyclist, Haber is hoping to take a long-delayed European bike tour from Copenhagen to Berlin with his wife Janice.

“First, I’m going to party a bit and spend more time with my family and my pets,” promised Haber, who concedes he may not be able to stay away from his profession. for all time.

“I hope to do part-time work,” he admitted.

Carol Comegno loves telling stories about South Jersey life, history and veterans for the Courier Post, Burlington County Times and Daily Journal. If you have a story to share, call her at 856-486-2473 or email [email protected].

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Benjamin M. Yerger