Rowan Animal Clinic sets up in temporary quarters

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 9, 2012

By Mark Wineka
SALISBURY — Less than two months after the devastating fire of Feb. 19, Rowan Animal Clinic is back in full-service mode, seeing many familiar faces.
Such as Bella, the 4-year-old English mastiff — the friendliest 145-pound giantess you’ll ever meet.
Such as Cujo, the white fluffy cat battling an unexpected infection.
Such as Zoey, the rescued puppy, who just needed an update on her shots.
Fire destroyed virtually every physical asset of Rowan Animal Clinic in that Sunday morning fire, but it didn’t damage all the goodwill Dr. R.B. Lowe’s veterinary practice had built up over the past 35 years.
Lowe and his fellow doctors and staff regrouped quickly, setting up a temporary clinic with regular hours at 2141 Statesville Blvd. — the former eye care center next to the Aaron’s (near the Salisbury Mall).
The clinic opened March 29, and it’s handling all manner of animal care that it used to except boarding and bathing, Jessi Graham, who works at the clinic, said Saturday. Dental care will be coming soon. “We have everything else,” Graham noted.
The front windows of the temporary clinic, which has a spacious waiting area, are filled with cards and letters from well-wishers.
Dr. Juston Schmidtke said the messages of prayer and support came from as far away as Minnesota — and as close as Hurley Elementary School, which is right around the corner from where a new Rowan Animal Clinic will be built later this year at 4155 Statesville Blvd.
Erick Houck, a student at Hurley, wrote on his homemade card that he was sorry to hear “about the accident at your hospital.”
“Good luck in building your new hospital,” he said. “I want to bring my dog, Cody, to see you.”
Nine dogs who were being boarded at the clinic died from smoke inhalation in the Feb. 19 fire. A special fund has been set up to create a “Precious Nine” dog park in their memory. The community dog park will be laid out on land next to the new clinic.
“We are thankful they are open again,” Lisa Wear said, sitting with her daughter Elizabeth’s dog, Zoey, while they waited for a doctor. The family has been longtime clients of Rowan Animal Clinic, and even though Elizabeth lives in Charlotte now, “she always brings him here,” Lisa Wear said.
Schmidtke said many clients delayed some of their routine visits, waiting for the temporary clinic to be up and running. Graham said clients are quickly learning where the temporary clinic is and that it’s back in business.
“It takes a little bit of an adjustment period, but everything is working out great,” Schmidtke said. “… The clients have been very gracious and supportive.”
Rowan Animal Clinic is open from 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m.-noon Saturday. It will not be open today because of the Easter holiday. The clinic’s telephone number is 704-636-3408.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.