Veterinarian reflects on family business
A four-year-old boy’s dream of being a veterinarian and following in his father’s footsteps has led to decades of business success.
The Huntington Animal Hospital is celebrating 63 years of business, and owner Dr. Jeff Kramer, who is living his lifelong passion, plans to mark the milestone with a special client appreciation day on June 6.
From the time Kramer, 61, was brought home as a baby from the hospital to his bedroom, which now serves as the exam room in Huntington Animal Hospital on Walt Whitman Road, he has been surrounded animals and the veterinary office.
“Growing up all I was ever going to do was be a veterinarian,” Kramer said in a recent interview. “I was always going to be a vet, there was never any other options.”
The animal hospital that Kramer owns once served as his childhood home and his father Mort Kramer’s veterinary office, which is where he got first-hand experience working in the field. The younger Kramer would hold animals, clean cages and observe as his father performing daily duties. Every free second he had was spent working with his dad, Kramer said.
“I’ve worked in this animal hospital since I was a little boy,” Kramer said. “I skipped Saturday morning cartoons and came here.”
Kramer attended Johns Hopkins University and then went on to attend veterinarian school at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, where he worked hard to fulfill his dream of becoming a vet.
After graduating from veterinary school, Kramer spent time living in Virginia and working at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C. He then returned to Huntington Station where he teamed up with his dad and worked at the family’s animal hospital. Once his dad retired, Kramer took over the business and has been operating it ever since.
“It has been an all-around wonderful experience, giving back to people and providing the animals and people with care and help,” Kramer said.
In the past Kramer has treated ferrets, guinea pigs and hamsters, but the practice now treats cats and dogs. Kramer said the staff would treat other animals if they came in.
While he loves treating dogs and cats, he said a big part of his job is treating their owners and helping them cope through difficult times. Through his more than 30 years running the practice, he said he has seen some sad cases that are just part of the job.
“It’s hard to see a dog and cat that has been hit by a car,” Kramer said.
The veterinarian said his job is very rewarding and he loves helping animals and owners. He said he loves giving back and providing animals with the care they need.
“It’s a wonderful profession,” he said. “I’m very very lucky to be a veterinarian. I’m one of the family doctors, that’s my favorite part.”
Sal Migliore, an owner of four cats, visits Kramer regularly and has been for the last three years. He called the veterinarian a good person who is very caring with animals.
“He is our Dr. Doolittle,” Migliore said. “He is a doctor for animals. We don’t know what we would do without him, we have so much faith in him.”
Next week, at the June 6 client appreciation day, people will get to meet a dog trainer, groomer along with Kramer and his team. Attendees will also be able to enjoy snacks and drinks, Kramer said.
“It’s really saying thank you to our Huntington Animal Hospital family,” Kramer said.