Rowan Animal Clinic sets up fund for memorial dog park
By Mark Wineka
SALISBURY — Rowan Animal Clinic, whose facilities were destroyed by an early-morning fire Feb. 19, has set up a fund for creating a “Precious Nine” dog park in memory of the animals that died from smoke inhalation.
The community dog park, about an acre in size, will be next to the new facility the clinic expects to build this year.
Meanwhile, Dr. R.B. Lowe, who established the veterinary practice 35 years ago, said his staff is working diligently to open a temporary office by sometime next week.
It will be located off Statesville Boulevard in the strip of stores beside the Salisbury Mall. The temporary clinic will be next to Aaron’s Sales and Lease and is in a former eye care center.
Staff members have been painting, placing orders, ripping up old carpeting and tracking down equipment.
“The other veterinarians in town have just been wonderful,” looking after Rowan Animal Clinic clients and their animals since the fire, Lowe said.
The clinic has chosen architect Roger Layman and started on its path to build a new facility on the same site.
The earliest a new clinic could be rebuilt is probably five months, Lowe said.
A lot of people have been asking questions about both the temporary office and when a new clinic will be built again at 4155 Statesville Blvd.
“It’s hard to give black-and-white answers,” Lowe acknowledged.
Ever since the fire, clinic owners and staff have discussed some memorial tribute to the nine dogs lost in the fire. On the Thursday after the fire, Summersett Funeral Home provided its chapel for a private memorial service for the families of those pets.
Lowe said the community dog park could possibly have benches or seats dedicated to each animal. Brick paths also could present opportunities to pay tribute to other animals.
“It’s so early, but we already have $600 in donations,” Lowe said.
Sandra Wilkinson and her husband, Neal, have depended on the clinic for treatment of their animals for 25 years. A Wells Fargo employee, Sandra has set up the “Rowan Animal Clinic Precious Nine Memorial Fund” as a vehicle for accepting donations toward the dog park.
Contributions for the fund — in cash or by check — will be accepted at any Wells Fargo location. Checks should be made out to “Rowan Animal Clinic,” with a reference to the Precious Nine Memorial Fund in the memo line.
Contributions also can be mailed to the Wells Fargo branch at 866 Jake Alexander Blvd. West, Salisbury, NC 28147.
Neal Wilkinson said support for the clinic from clients and the community at large has been overwhelming because, for the clinic, “it’s always been about the animals.”
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.