Vet clinic in Ivor changes caring handsPublished 10:16am Wednesday, August 28, 2013
IVOR—The cats and dogs brought to the Ivor Veterinary Clinic wouldn’t likely realize it, but the treatment center is under new, yet also familiar and warm hands.
Dr. Alicia Gerald, doctor of veterinary medicine, is the clinic’s new owner. She recently bought the practice from Dr. John Bensenhaver, who began it in 2009. He retired for the second time, Gerald said. Previously, the 70-plus-old veterinarian had a clinic in Virginia Beach from which he retired in 2003, after 41 years. Many residents in Ivor and surroundings had asked him to open a clinic when they learned of his background.
For her part, Gerald first came to Bensenhaver in September 2011 after seeing his ad for an assistant. Before that, she had earned her credentials at Virginia Tech.
“She’s a good veterinarian,” he said about Gerald. “She does a good job. She’s very knowledgeable, and does her best to take care of people and their pets.”
“I wanted to be a vet, but money was an issue,” she said. So the South Dakota native joined the Navy right after graduating from high school. She stayed in for eight years, which brought her to Virginia. This service then qualified her for a GI Bill, which helped with the education.
Her interest in animals apparently comes from two sources.
“My dad had cats and dogs,” Gerald said. “And I was reading stories that had lots of vets in them.”
She acknowledged one of those was James Herriot, the late English veterinarian made famous by his books, such as “All Creatures Great and Small.”
At her home in Sedley, Gerald said she has four cats, Inky, Blinky, Pokey and Clyde, all named after the Pac-Man characters, she said. The felines share the home with two dogs, Paz and Mischa. Outside are some chickens.
One of the facets of work that’s surprised her is the amount of client interaction, meaning not just cats and dogs, but also humans, of course.
“Dogs are a little easier to deal with…they’re more predictable,” she said in comparing them to cats.
Maybe in the future, Gerald added, she’ll include horses and cattle to her practice, but for now it’s just the domestic pets.
“We’re just getting settled in,” she said. “There’s not really an average day.”
Working with her are Tabitha Raines, receptionist, Erika Davis and Jamie Starnes, veterinary assistants.
Her business card reads, “Modern technology and old-fashioned manners.”
The clinic is equipped for an array of services, including spaying and neutering, vaccinations and X-rays. However, boarding is not an option.
Gerald added that keeping animals healthy is an important motivation for why she does this work.
Asked about the inevitable difficulty of having to put the animals down, Gerald said, “It’s hard for everyone. A few are harder than others. But it’s a gift we can give them.”
The clinic is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. After hours or weekend emergencies are referred to clinics in the Greenbrier area of Chesapeake or northern Suffolk.
“We’re looking to be open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. the first Saturday of each month, beginning in October,” said Gerald.
To find out more about the clinic, call 859-6415 or visit at 8290 Main Street, Ivor.