A fire destroyed the building last week, but staff members haven't stopped helping animals
Dena Meehan’s home has become a supply closet of medications and her phone is always ringing.
People call about prescriptions, appointments and pet problems.
Meehan’s house is a pseudo office building since a fire destroyed the Springfield Animal Hospital Jan. 19.
The hospital lost everything - a new $90,000 digital X-ray camera, an ultrasound and 13 computers. Medication was tossed out.
Meehan, the co-owner, said it could be four months before the building on River Street is repaired from extensive smoke damage.
They can’t do surgeries, but the 22 staff and four veterinarians are doing what they can.
“We want to keep our clients happy," said Meehan.
While Meehan meets with attorneys and insurance agents, a veterinarian makes house calls, traveling to up to 10 homes a day to give vaccinations, nail clippings and physical examinations. A technician waits in the driveway of the damaged building to hand out meds and prescriptions as they come in.
A dumpster is full of unsalvageable building material.
The animal hospital serves about 10,000 pets in the region. The news of the fire caused an outpouring of grief and support.
"They treat my dogs just like they are my kids,” said Kevin Pellerin of Windsor.
Pellerin has been taking his pit bulls there for 10 years.
“It’s the only vet I’ve ever brought my dogs to,” said Pellerin, who said he trusts the vets at Springfield Animal Hospital most. “I didn’t want to have to go somewhere else.”
The fire started around 8 p.m. The cause is undetermined but Springfield Fire Chief Russ Thompson said it started near two chimneys.
Staff members who were there taking evening appointments the night of the fire rescued all the animals-- five cats and two dogs from the flames.
Three of the cats belonged to the Sullivan County Humane Society and were scheduled to have dental surgery, a spay and blood work the following day.
Sullivan County Humane Society President Cheryl Bromley called the cats her “babies.” A technician drove them to her that night. Though unharmed, they smelled of smoke.
"That's when it hit me," said Bromley. "It's devastating."
Bromley relies on the hospital twice a week for surgeries and procedures.
“(The hospital) is like family to us," she said.
Two employee-owned dogs were also pulled from the fire and two cats who lived at the hospital were saved. One cat was so sick it’s since died.
Meehan is also a vet who will start taking house calls next week.
“It’s incredibly stressful,” said Meehan.
She said the hospital is trying to secure a temporary location in Springfield. She hopes to be back to full service in three weeks.
“I’m trying to expedite the process,” said Vermont Division of Fire Safety Springfield Regional Manager Bruce Martin who would approve the temporary location.
The owners are working with insurance adjusters to repair the animal hospital building, which is valued at $175,300 on the grand list.
Animal hospitals that are nearest, including, Rockingham Vet Clinic, Rutland Vet, Kedron Valley Vet Clinic, Windsor Vet Clinic, Charlestown Animal Hospital, and Sugar River Animal Hospital have been covering surgeries.
-Call the hospital at 885-2505 with questions-Medication pick-up is available from noon to 2 p.m. Monday-Friday