When Dr. Jennifer Hostetler started looking for a veterinary practice to buy, she had two conditions: she wanted it to be in good shape and she wanted it to be in the Auburn area.
The search was difficult, Hostetler told the Citizen on Tuesday. Practices that are put on the market and not bought by corporations usually require too much work to rehabilitate.
But Hostetler eventually found her practice at Chestnut Ridge Animal Hospital in Sennett, which she purchased last year. It succeeds its owner for about eight years, Dr. Andrea Randazzo.
Hostetler said she focused her research on the Auburn area because she wanted to return there, having started her career in 2012 at the Brookside Veterinary Clinic on Grant Avenue. A Michigan native and graduate of Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, she came to Auburn because of the difficulty of finding a job in the field at that time.
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But Hostetler grew attached to the area during her five years at Brookside and then at Fairmount Animal Hospital, she said. Since returning to the Midwest to work at a veterinary practice in Indiana, she has been searching for a way back. Now, in addition to working in Chestnut Ridge, she lives in Auburn with her husband, Kyle, and their 6-year-old daughter, Violet.
Hostetler is grateful to be doing something she loves, somewhere she loves — especially in her own private practice after experiencing the corporate “headache.”
“It’s pretty cliché, but I’ve always loved animals,” she said. “You learn right away that there’s a lot of interaction between people, but I love that too. The people and the animals that we work with.”
Over the past six months, Hostetler has made several improvements to Chestnut Ridge with both its residents and its pets in mind. Although the cabinet was in good condition, she felt it would need new paint and lighting, as well as new flooring in the exam rooms. She also added a railing in front of the steps of the practice, once a home, for which owners of older pets thanked her.
Meanwhile, Hostetler has added a new anesthesia monitor for pets undergoing surgeries and a dental x-ray machine. She thinks the dogs in particular will be delighted with the new railing she installed above the stairs between the two floors of the practice and the new lighting in the lobby. The stairs were steep, she said, so patients on all fours “hated” using them.
Hostetler also hired a licensed veterinary technician, the firm’s first, to help with tasks such as anesthesia and blood draws. Later, she hopes to add one or two more doctors to the team of about six people. Demand for the firm’s services has been “overwhelming” due to the high rate of pet adoptions during the COVID-19 pandemic, she said, even as she enters her third year.
A new facility for Chestnut Ridge, with a better location and layout, is another possibility, Hostetler said. But it won’t be too far from current practice.
“I plan to be here until I retire,” she said.